Franciscan Father Jean-Pierre Ducharme blesses his mother and father at Rosary Hall shortly after his ordination May 14 at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver.

BRENT MATTSON | THE B.C. CATHOLIC

Franciscan Father Jean-Pierre Ducharme blesses his mother and father at Rosary Hall shortly after his ordination May 14 at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver.

June 6, 2011
BRENT MATTSON
THE B.C. CATHOLIC

VANCOUVER — In the presence of family, friends, and brother priests, Franciscan Father Jean-Pierre Ducharme received his priestly ordination from Archbishop Michael Miller at Holy Rosary Cathedral May 14.

“Our hearts are full of gratitude and praise to God that he has chosen this man to be a priest of Jesus Christ,” Miller said in his homily.

“The Church is counting on you to preach the Word with humility, with that keen awareness that everything good we do is a gift of God, given for his kingdom of God.”

Ducharme, a member of the Order of Franciscans Minor, now a priest as well as a religious brother, cautions against getting too hung up over whether to call him Father or Friar.

“Honestly, I’m not big on titles,” he said the day after his ordination. “I understand if people of God want to call me Father, but I really feel a strong sense that I am a Franciscan brother above anything else.

“We are friars first, and those of us who are ordained are ordained ministers second.”

The pews were packed with friends and members of Ducharme’s family, which includes 10 siblings and 35 nieces and nephews.

At the end of the Mass, the newly-ordained Father Ducharme took a moment to thank those who had inspired his vocation. He thanked his parents for being “remarkable models of Christ” and the Franciscans for reminding “me of how minor I am in the grand scheme of things.”

The Franciscans Minor are also known as the Lesser Brothers, he said, adding he felt the need to also thank his siblings for preparing him for his vocation.

NINTH OF 11

“Being the ninth of 11 kids, I learned how to be a lesser brother, and if you knew my brothers and sisters, you would understand it.”

The day after his ordination, Ducharme celebrated his first Mass at St. Joseph’s Church in Mission. He has a special connection to the parish, because when he was growing up his family used to spend summers in Mission and would attend Mass at St. Joseph’s.

After a vacation, Ducharme will return to the Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre run by the Franciscans in Cochrane, where he is the vicar, as well as director of formation and vocations.

He will also fill in at parishes.

“I could be travelling Western Canada for holidaying pastors, and getting to know people of God throughout Western Canada,” he said. “It will certainly help me in my vocation ministry.”