Bishop Luc Cyr of Diocese of Vallyfield surprised by his appointment
By Deborah Gyapong
The Canadian Catholic News
OTTAWA (CCN)--Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Valleyfield Bishop Luc Cyr as the new Archbishop of Sherbrooke, after accepting the resignation of Archbishop André Gaumond, who had reached 75.
Bishop Cyr said he was surprised to be chosen because he is always aware of his spiritual poverty. He met with the Nuncio in late June when he was told about the Holy Father’s decision. He said he realized this new step is the will of God.
“When I was a priest I said yes,” he said. “This is another occasion to say yes. I’m coming to serve there.”
He said it will not be easy to leave the Diocese of Valleyfield in Quebec, where he has served since his ordination to the episcopacy in 2001.
Born in Saint-Jérôme in 1953, Bishop Cyr was ordained to the priesthood in 1980 after studying theology at Montreal’s Grand Seminary and moral theology at the Alphonsian Academy in Rome.
He served in two parishes in the Saint-Jérôme diocese as curate and then as pastor of the Blainville parish from 1987-1992. Active in formation and vocation services for the diocese, he became vicar general in 1994 and remained in that role until his appointment as bishop of Valleyfield.
Archbishop Gaumond steps down after 26 years in the episcopacy, first as Bishop of Bishop of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière. He came to the Archdiocese of Sherbrooke as Co-Adjudicator Archbishop Feb. 15, 1995 and became Archbishop July 1, 1996. Trained in theology and philosophy, Gaumond worked in the educational field after his priestly ordination in 1961 until 1981 when he became pastor of Christian communities in the Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière diocese.
Gaumond served as president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) from 2005 to 2007, and played an active role on many Episcopal commissions.
Bishop Cyr acts as the CCCB’s representative for the French Sector’s Charismatic Renewal, work that has given him an opportunity to support the work and leadership of lay people across Canada, he said.
When he was growing up, he was exposed to the Focolare Movement, which left him with a great respect for various lay movements and new communities with their special charisms.
Though he knows some priests and lay people from Sherbrooke and has worked with Gaumond as a brother bishop, he said he is not very familiar with the Sherbrooke archdiocese.
He has heard about young priests who are happy and knows some of the young people involved with Famille Marie-Jeunesse, a new movement of priests and men and women in consecrated life that is headquartered in the archdiocese. He described the Sherbrooke region as a nice part of Quebec for holidays.
Bishop Cyr still plans on going to World Youth Day in Madrid in August with a group of young people from Valleyfield. He expects his installation as archbishop of of Sherbrooke will take place Sept 29.
Not only does he believe in supporting youth ministry, he hopes to help sustain the work of lay people in the church in other areas, including respect for life, the family, and the environment.
But Bishop Cyr hopes that all Catholics will invite those around them to “share our joy and peace.”
“The Gospel is a good news for everyone,” he said.
Not only does the bishop embrace the New Evangelization, he embraces new technology, using an iPad and an iPhone to juggle his schedule, as well as to keep up with the latest texts from the Vatican’s new site.
Bishop Cyr planned to visit the diocese the first week of August. His first step will involve getting to know the priests, deacons, pastoral agents, the many religious men and women and the lay people.
He plans to listen as people share about the life of the diocese. It is important to work with a team, he said. He knows he will enter a diocese with “many nice people involved in the church.”
“I’m going there with joy and hope,” he said. Though he knows it will be a challenge, he trusts that with God’s help he can meet it.
At the same time, he will miss the people of Valleyfield where he has enjoyed working for the last decade.