Yesterday was a time of celebration at the Archbishop's residence. Archbishop Christian Lépine and his Council welcomed about two dozen priests from the Archdiocese celebrating jubilee milestones of priestly ordination.

"I added multiples of 5 starting at 40 years of ordination because from 25 years to 50 years is a long wait," said Archbishop Lépine, pleased to uphold the Jubilee tradition within the Church.

"The Church has always preserved this beautiful tradition. The jubilee is more than just an anniversary; it also expresses our joy of having priests, and of having these priests in particular. Each priest has his own unique story and style, but they are all men who dedicated their lives to serving Christ and the Church. We are grateful."  

Father Robert Lambert, 93 years old, was proud, but especially "grateful to the Lord," as he put it, for celebrating this year 70 years of ordination.  "I thank the Lord for all these years, and for everyone who assisted me. I was at the head of St-Pierre-Claver Parish for 25 years... those were tumultuous times of great upheaval.... but I was so happy there!"  

Although he is now retired, he celebrates Mass "for the people a little on the margins" every Sunday at noon at St-Claude de Laval Parish. Greatly appreciated by his parishioners, he has been asked to tell the story of his first 50 years of priesthood. The book has just been completed, for all those who are interested!  

Msgr. André Tiphane, 57 years old, was also at the celebration. He will be celebrating 30 years of priesthood on August 28, 2018. He explained that it is a unique moment in the life of a priest: "Now, with 30 years under my belt, I can no longer say that I'm a "young priest!" It is sobering to marry people whose Baptism you celebrated! I have become a spiritual grandfather!"  

Msgr. Tiphane, who worked for 11 years within the diocesan services, has returned to his ministry as a parish priest at Sainte-Dorothée and Saint-Théophile parishes. "I am overseeing four parishes in all, and I have much to manage, but now that most things have been put in order, we can dream of creating projects... I have great ones planned!"  

What is your desire for the future? "I wish above all to maintain my spiritual dynamism, and to always strive for a more enriching spiritual life.  I also wish to maintain a healthy physical equilibrium. I always have so many ideas, but I don't always have the time to see them through, and the work is very demanding. I have to be careful."  

Last week, Archbishop Lépine went to the home for sick and elderly priests, Appartements du Square Angus, to meet with priests celebrating jubilees but who could not attend the luncheon because of illness or old age. It was upon this visit that he was reminded by his colleagues that he himself is celebrating this year his 35th year as a priest; Most Reverend Lépine had forgotten entirely!  

The Archdiocese of Montreal has 407 priests for 1,722,541 Catholics. When the Archbishop said that "a priest is not a priest for himself, but to serve the Kingdom and the Church," he wasn't wrong at all...