CARDINAL PAUL-EMILE LÉGER (1904-1991)
By Bernard Bujold –
Paul-Émile Léger died on 13 November 1991 and to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his death, a special ceremony was celebrated on this date in 2016 at the Marie Reine du Monde Cathedral.
I am not a Catholic practitioner but I have several friends who are; and I love visiting the churches that I consider to be buildings worthy of the best museums in the world with exceptional works of art. I therefore accepted the invitation to attend the ceremony in honor of Cardinal Léger.
If I have never met Cardinal Leger in person, but I had the pleasure of being invited to dinner by Jules Léger, the Cardinal’s brother. A memorable souvenir… I was then a young journalist and Mr. Léger was the Governor General of Canada.
Cardinal Léger was a man of the Quebec Church who was nicknamed “The Prince of the Church”. He was Archbishop of Montreal from 1950 to 1967 and Cardinal. He was noticed by Montrealers as the host of the religious radio show Chapelet en famille. Cardinal Paul-Émile Léger was one of the leaders of the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965. He resigned from his position as Archbishop of Montreal on April 20, 1968 to work as a missionary in Africa, specifically in Cameroon among lepers and children with disabilities. Ten years later, in 1978, he participated in the conclave which elected Pope John Paul II. A month later, following the death of the pope, he found himself again in the conclave which elected John Paul II. From 2 May 1989 until his death in 1991, he was the living cardinal with the longest reign. Paul-Émile Léger died of pneumonia at the Hôtel-Dieu in Montreal in 1991 in Quebec at the age of 87 years. His funeral service was celebrated by Mgr Jean-Claude Turcotte.
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