On the evening of May 16, 2024, Archbishop Christian Lépine and Vicar General Charles Langlois embarked on a "synodal pilgrimage" to the francophone deanery in the southwest of the Archdiocese of Montreal. More commonly referred to as a "visitation," this event was hosted by Notre-Dame du Sacré-Cœur parish in southwest Montreal. The visit began with vespers at 7 PM and concluded around 10 PM.

Welcoming the visitors with open doors, Dean and Parish Priest of Notre-Dame du Sacré-Cœur, Father Guy Viau, eagerly awaited the arrival well before the scheduled time. Attendees were invited to share what they felt was essential, leading to a diverse exchange of experiences from fellow priests. One priest remarked, "The Church I serve is immensely rich in intercultural diversity," while another added, "In my parish, we have an African choir that performs every Sunday." Three other joyful priests noted, "We are encountering young people who have never attended our church and are now part of our communities."

As Pope Francis reminds us in the 2025 Jubilee's bull of indiction (para. 7), "the Church has the responsibility of reading the signs of the times and interpreting them in the light of the Gospel. In this way, in language adapted to every generation, she can respond to people’s persistent questions about the meaning of this present life and of the life to come, and how one is related to the other."

Archbishop Lépine’s visit provided an opportunity for evangelization. In a spirit of trust, humility, and truth, fellow priests shared their stories, projects, and concerns. This visit was both fraternal and encouraging. As customary, the event concluded with words of encouragement from Archbishop Christian Lépine: "Be good shepherds who seek out the lost sheep," followed by a blessing.


Fr. Jean-Marie Bilwala Kabesa, IMC