Paul-André Durocher, bishop of the local Alexandria-Cornwall diocese, made it his goal to bring 1,000 of his diocesans with him to participate in the Montreal celebration. On Saturday morning, 27 coaches shuttled more than 1,300 locals from all points in the diocese.
Participants were called to worship by the ringing of the bell from the first chapel on Mount Royal. Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte presided over the celebration and served as homilist. As expected, music played a large role in the Big-O gathering. Quebec pop singer Chantal Pary, violinist Alexandre Da Costa, and the group 3 Petits Chanteurs helped to lead the congregation in song.
People of all ages and walks of life joined in the festivities, which saw Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Quebec’s Premier, Jean Charest, as well as Montreal and area politicians among the congregation.
Brother André was the poor, uneducated, sickly, humble doorman/porter at St. Joseph’s Oratory for many years. During his tenure, the multitudes flocked to consult with the hospitable Brother André and to ask God’s healing touch through the Holy Cross lay member’s intercession and that of St. Joseph. Although he was always careful to deflect the credit to God and the intercession of St. Joseph, Bessette is credited with affecting many medically documented physical healings.
Brother André had a dream – the building of a Canadian shrine in honour of St. Joseph. Though he did not live to see St. Joseph’s Oratory come to full fruition, the man of meagre means did set the wheels in motion for the shrine to be built and upgraded many times. Every year, 2 million pilgrims and tourists visit the Oratory.
Photo courtesy of Don Smith:
The Olympic Stadium transformed for the post-canonization celebration of thanksgiving. In the inset photo is local Catholic bishop, Paul-André Durocher, processing with about 60 of his brother bishops.