WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
Archbishop Richard Smith advised Roger Rouleau during his ordination that ‘the priest must allow his voice to give way to that of the lord.’
EDMONTON — Roger Rouleau is now a priest. Archbishop Richard Smith ordained the 34-year-old St. Albert man before a packed St. Joseph’s Basilica Dec. 3.
Several members of Rouleau’s family and most of the priests and deacons of the archdiocese were present for the ordination, the fourth this year.
In his homily, the archbishop commended Rouleau for his vocation choice and reminded him of his duties as a shepherd.
“The true shepherd places the needs of his sheep before himself, even to the point of death,” Smith said.
“As one who is called to serve after the Lord’s own heart, he must always be prepared to lay down his life for the people to whom he is sent (to serve) and to place himself entirely at their service.”
The priest must also be attentive to the voice with which he speaks, Smith continued.
“To serve after the heart of the Good Shepherd means that even as he speaks, the priest must allow his voice to give way to that of the Lord.
“The priest is called to speak, but he must always be attentive to ensure that the people would hear not his own ideas, but the truth of Christ; not his own vision, but the saving plan of God; not his own teaching, but the doctrine of the Church.”
The archbishop, followed by each of the dozens of priests present, embraced Rouleau, thus welcoming him into the fold.
The congregation erupted into cheers and applause. Rouleau’s parents, Gerard and Stella, and his three-year-old nephew André were the first to receive Communion from the newly ordained priest.
“I feel very good, very joyful,” Father Rouleau told the WCR immediately after the Mass. In a previous interview, he said his goal is to be “a good and holy priest.”
In the lobby of the basilica following his ordination, Rouleau gave his blessing to the archbishop and then went down to the basement hall for a reception in his honour. Hundreds lined up to receive the priest’s blessing and take photographs with him.
“I’m not surprised Roger chose the priesthood because he always took his faith seriously,” said his younger brother Louis, 32. “He has a deep love of Christ and I think that will shine through his ministry.”
At the reception, Rouleau’s dad, Gerard, also had his own lineup of people who wanted to show their appreciation to him for having given his son to the Church.
“This is our gift to the Church,” he proudly told the WCR as his son joyfully embraced well-wishers and gave them his blessing.
“We always expected him to become a priest. It wasn’t a surprise.”
When Roger was three-years-old, Gerard asked him if Jesus had spoken to him. Roger said “no” and Gerard asked him to listen to the Lord.
“The next day he came back to me and he said, ‘Dad, Jesus spoke to me and said he wants me to be a priest.’
“So we knew all these years that he had a calling. He forgot about it but we didn’t. We never mentioned it to him until the day he chose to study for the priesthood. I’m very happy he chose the priesthood.”
Earlier in his homily, Smith urged Rouleau to take as his model for inspiration the missionary St. Francis Xavier, whose feast is celebrated Dec. 3. Francis agreed to be sent to the Far East to preach the Gospel to people who did not yet know the Lord.
“Now, I have no intention of sending you to India,” he said to laughter from the congregation.
“Today we know that we don’t need to travel very far to encounter people who do not yet know Jesus Christ. They are here in our own city.
“We need you and every priest to take the initiative to go out as did the Good Shepherd to those who are not yet in the fold in order to share with them the joy of life in Jesus Christ.”