Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Trappist abbot named bishop of home diocese.

After eighteen years as leader of the Cistercian Abbey of Notre Dame du Lac in Oka, Quebec, Dom Yvon-Joseph Moreau has been named bishop of the Diocese of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière, which he served as a secular priest before becoming a monk. Though Trappists seldom ascend to the episcopacy, the bishop-elect brings a wide range of experiences to his new role. As a young priest, Moreau served as a seminary professor in Nicaragua and studied social sciences before working in several parishes in his home diocese. Elected abbot six years after entering the monastery at Oka and shortly after he made solemn vows, Moreau guided his brother monks through the difficult process of deciding to relocate from their historic home to smaller and more solitary quarters. The Trappists' move from Oka to their new abbey at Saint-Jean-de-Matha, a process they expect to complete by next year, will now take place under the leadership of a new abbot.

The Diocese of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière and the Abbey of Notre Dame du Lac are both accustomed to stability in leadership. As a press release on the diocese's website notes, Dom Yvon is only the fourth abbot to serve at Oka since the foundation of the monastery in 1881 and will be the fifth bishop to serve Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière since its establishment as a diocese in 1951. I hope that the bishop-elect will be able to share something of the Cistercian spirit with the flock he will shepherd in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière, and I pray that the people of the diocese will receive much consolation and strength from his leadership. As I've written before, the monastery at Oka is a place I've visited on numerous occasions and one that I regret I will not see again in its present state. In this time of transition, I pray for the monks at Oka as they prepare to elect a new abbot to guide them in the years to come. AMDG.


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