Pope’s surprise visit: “We are still holding back so as not to cry” |  Pope Francis in Canada

Pope’s surprise visit: “We are still holding back so as not to cry” | Pope Francis in Canada

For me it is a big wink of God for the Saint-Alphonse Brotherhood, says Father Morency, who founded this center about thirty years ago.

This visit was kept secret until the last minute and was not on the Pope’s official itinerary so as not to attract crowds.

promise kept

André Morency explains that the Society owes this intimate visit from the Pope to Cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix.

He had already said to me: “André, one day when the Holy Father comes to Quebec, I will take him to the fraternity.” It stayed that way…

When he learned that the Pope was going to Canada, he wrote to the Archbishop of Quebec to remind him of his promise. He kept his word.

Father André Morency shakes hands with Pope Francis.

Father André Morency shakes hands with Pope Francis during his surprise visit to the Fraternité Saint-Alphonse.

Photo: Jean Claude Simard

André Morecy also kept the secret. To ensure the attendance of volunteers and residents, he pretended to have a special dinner to thank them for their dedication.

André Morency, always afraid of a last-minute change in the Pope’s itinerary, only truly believed in his providence when he saw the motorcade pull up in front of the Confraternity and the Pope exit his small Fiat 500.

“He smiled, his eyes lit up. We could see that he was in his midst. »

— A quote from André Morency, Redemptorist Father

Pope Francis’ visit to the Society lasted about twenty minutes. He offered gifts to his hosts: rosaries and an icon with the image of Mary and Jesus.

An icon in a wooden frame leaning against a wall.

The Fraternité Saint-Alphonse received this icon of Mary and Jesus as a gift after the visit of Pope Francis.

Photo: Radio Canada / Louis-Philippe Arsenault

The Sovereign Pope also donated $20,000 to the organization. Before leaving, a bodyguard invited André Morency to approach the Pope.

sleep disturbance

He had envelopes in his hand. He takes my hand and puts it in my hand. He said, “This is for the poor, Father Morency.”

When he opened the envelopes after the procession had started, he saw what was inside. We’re still holding back so as not to cry, he says.

André Morency is still unable to sleep because this visit turned him upside down. He doesn’t think he’s the only one affected: the residents of the center are also upset, even non-believers.

There were some who cried, who had tears in their eyes. His presence at home might have triggered something in these people, he thinks.

With information from Louis-Philippe Arsenault