I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Fr. Médard Kwango, Msgr. Marc Rivest and Father Alain Mongeau Episcopal Vicars to accompany the French-speaking communities within the deaneries of the Archdiocese of Montreal.
Our diocesan Church is made up of English-speaking, French-speaking and cultural communities. Four Episcopal Vicars support the French-speaking communities, while the English-speaking communities have one, and the cultural communities also have one.
According to Canon Law, an episcopal vicar is the "lieutenant" of the bishop for a determined part of the People of God, or in a specific cause. Six episcopal vicars will now be responsible for maintaining this connection between myself and the various pastoral areas.
Father Médard Mbay Kwango, CMF (Cordis Mariae Filii) has been appointed Episcopal Vicar for the French-speaking communities of the four deaneries of Est-Lanaudière: Centre-Sud/Hochelaga-Maisonneuve; Anjou-Mercier; Pointe-de-l'Île and Lanaudière.
Msgr. Marc Rivest, c.s.s., has been appointed Episcopal Vicar for the French-speaking communities of the four deaneries in the western area of the diocese: Centre-Ville; Sud-Ouest; Saint-Laurent/Bordeaux-Cartierville and the West Island.
Father Alain Mongeau has been appointed Episcopal Vicar for the French-speaking communities of the four deaneries in the central area of diocese: Mont-Royal; Plateau Mont-Royal; Rosemont; Montreal-Nord/Saint-Léonard/Saint-Michel.
They will join Father Harry Célestin, c.s.v, who will continue in his service as Episcopal Vicar for the French-speaking communities of the four deaneries of Nord-Laval (Petite-Patrie/Villeray/Parc-Extension; Ahuntsic/Sault-au-Récollet; Laval Est and Laval Ouest), along with Father Raymond Lafontaine, Episcopal Vicar for the English-speaking community, and Father Pierangelo Paternieri, Episcopal Vicar for the cultural communities.
Eleven years ago, deaneries were set up throughout the Archdiocese of Montreal to offer fraternal support to priests by providing an opportunity for clergy within the same area to pray and discuss in order to facilitate mutual assistance among the pastoral teams. For the last seven years, helping parishes and Church organizations within the same diocesan district or area to collaborate in the adoption of a new pastoral approach – missionary outreach – has been a central focus. Now, pastors, deacons, lay pastoral team members, collaborators and volunteers are called together to foster one another’s faith and solidarity, while promoting communication and the sharing of resources and thus contribute more effectively to the Church’s mission.
In recent years, we have identified a growing need for the accompaniment provided by pastoral teams and parish communities. It is also important to mobilize all the faithful to take part in the projects that are essential to the pursuit of our mission of evangelization, such as the Diocesan Missionary Transformation Project and Responsible Pastoral Care, which aims to prevent all forms of abuse. Now that their numbers are increased, the Episcopal Vicars will help us meet these challenges.
About Father Médard Mbay Kwango
Médard Mbay Kwango was born on June 8, 1965, the second child in a family that would include eight children, with a father who was a teacher and a mother who was an educator at the Passionist Sisters' housekeeping school in the Lumbi Mission, Democratic Republic of the Congo. He entered the Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Claretian Missionaries) in September 1990. Following his BA in Philosophy in Kinshasa and his BA in Theology in Cameroon, he was ordained a priest in July 1998 in Kikwit, DRC. He served as Formator for the Claretian postulancy in Mont-Ngafula-Kimbondo, Kinshasa, and later as vicar and parish priest. After his licentiate and later MA studies in law at Paris-Sud University (1998) and DEA (Diplôme d'Études Approfondies) in Canon Law at the Catholic University of Paris Paris (1998), he was elected provincial of the Claretian Missionaries of Central Africa (1998-2013). During this time, he taught Canon Law at the Université Saint Augustin de Kinshasa and the École Théologique Saint-Cyprien in Ngoya, Cameroon, and Vice-President of the Assembly of Major Superiors of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, ASUMA (2013). Having served as a missionary in Canada since 2016, Fr. Médard is currently Superior of the Claretian Missionaries of Montreal, parish priest of Notre-Dame d'Anjou parish since 2017 and a lawyer at the Ecclesiastical Tribunal of Montreal
About Msgr. Marc Rivest
Msgr. Marc Rivest was born in Montreal, in Sainte-Cécile parish, to René Rivest and Berthe Touchette. He was ordained to the priesthood in June 1979 at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral by Msgr. Paul Grégoire. He served as priest at the cathedral from 1979 to 1986. He served in the ministry of the Café chrétien de Montréal from 1982 to 1986 and was then appointed pastor of Saint-Maurice de Duvernay from 1986 to 1993. He held the position of administrative assistant to the Archdiocese from 1993 to 1994, thereafter pursuing studies in Marian theology at the Pontifical Theological Faculty Marianum in Rome from 1994 to 1996.
Having returned to Montreal, he was appointed parish priest, first for Saints-Anges-de-Lachine from 1996 to 2002, and then for Sainte-Cécile and Saint-Vincent-Ferrier from 2002 to 2014. He subsequently became spiritual director of the Association des Groupes de Vie Marial, Marie Mère de l’Église from 2006 to 2014. Since 2014, he has been parish priest of Saint-Joseph de Mont-Royal. In December 2019, Pope Francis appointed him chaplain to His Holiness (c.s.s.), bestowing on him the title of Monsignor.
Msgr. Rivest is well acquainted with the life of parish communities, their joys and difficulties; and he believes in their present and their future. He enjoys travelling and discovering new horizons.
About Father Alain Mongeau
Alain Mongeau was born in Montreal 59 years ago. He grew up in the parishes of Saint-Hippolyte (Ville Saint-Laurent) and Saint-Germain (Outremont). He studied communication and literature before leaving for France and Belgium in order to live at the evangelical school "Jeunesse-Lumière" for six years.
He continued his priestly training at the Aix-en-Provence seminary before returning to Canada in 1996. During an internship with Saint-Louis-de-France parish (since merged with Saint-Jean-Baptiste), he participated in the founding of a group of young adult missionaries: the Bande FM.
Having been ordained a priest on April 24, 1998, he became parish priest at Saint-Jean-Baptiste where he has been serving for 20 years. From 2017 to 2020, he served in the role of Episcopal Vicar for the Francophone Deaneries of the Eastern Sector of the Diocese.
In thanking them for their willingness to serve, I wish that Father Médard Mbay Kwango, Msgr. Marc Rivest and Father Alain Mongeau may experience fruitful ministries in their service of Jesus Christ and his Church.
† Christian Lépine
Archbishop of Montreal