ROME – Montrealers should be proud of – and be inspired by – Brother André, who devoted his life to helping the poor and the sick, Mayor Gèrald Tremblay says.
“Even though we live in an increasingly secular society, (it’s important to focus) on people who have transmitted to us spiritual values,” Tremblay, who is Rome for the canonization of Brother André, said in an interview Saturday.
The Catholic Church is “honouring someone who was blessed with values that are very important for our society,” he said. “His legacy is the importance of those values for us today – compassion, solidarity, generosity, social justice.”
In addition, Brother André founded St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, “a harbour of peace,” Tremblay said. “You can go there not only if you have something to ask, you go there so you can really reflect, take the time. That’s what we don’t do in our society any more.”
The oratory is already “a worldwide institution” as the biggest sanctuary honouring St. Joseph, welcoming 2 million pilgrims and visitors annually.
“That’s a remarkable achievement for a little person who was poor and illiterate,” Tremblay said. Early on, “people looked at this little person and said, ‘What is he – a doorman’. But look at what he did because he had a dream.’
In 2008, after Montreal won the coveted Boardwalk spot on the international version of Monopoly, the game’s maker chose St. Joseph’s Oratory to illustrate the city’s location. “Imagine: They could have chosen the Olympic Stadium or another emblem of Montreal but they chose St. Joseph,” Tremblay said.
Will the worldwide attention brought by Brother André’s canonization on Sunday help bring even more tourists to Montreal?
“Yes, people are going to be more and more present,” Tremblay said.© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette
Be proud of Brother André, Mayor Gèrald Tremblay saysIn Canada on October 16, 2010 at 18:44