Louise Boisvert was appointed Director of the Office for Faith Education at the Archdiocese of Montreal. She is replacing Father Denis Dion, with whom she worked as assistant for the catechumenate.
The Office's mandate is clear, but ever so large: Christian initiation for anyone between 0 to 104 years of age, which comprises awakening to the faith for the very young, catechesis for kids included, baptism, confirmation, the catechetical courses, as well as the development of an activities program for the youth of 18 years and older.
In the archdiocese, at least 100 requests for baptism alone are made by young people each year! And each time, as the new director said so well, "they are amazed at the sheer size of their group and that they are not alone in experiencing this call."
The challenges are considerable, but Louise Boisvert would like for her entire team at the Office to focus on two priorities: formation and support.
"We realized that we offer wonderful courses, and provide a great journey experience, but the youth, mostly from the older age groups, don't come to have the faith, even after a few years. We asked ourselves how God proceeds and what his method of teaching is... By taking a closer look at this perspective, drawing inspiration from a symposium that had taken place in France, and having recourse to the General Directory for Catechesis, we found that prayer was lacking... It was the poor relation of the catechumenate, if you will. We hadn't sufficiently insisted on certain prayers."
We will therefore be revisiting the formation of the catechists. We have already begun this new approach, as a matter of fact, and it is becoming increasingly popular among the catechists: they want to be formed! In 2013, the Congrès catéchétique diocésain and its Anglophone counterpart, the Faith Enrichment Conference, were organized to include an opportunity for this. Almost 200 people registered for the Congrès that year. This year, its third edition, over 300 people registered (November 21, Collège André-Grasset, 9:00 A.M.-3:45 P.M.), and, for the Faith Enrichment Conference, almost 200 (November 6 and 7 at the Nouvel Hotel).
Louise Boisvert's second priority is to provide support to the parishes. "They have all kinds of needs! We do not offer to do things in their stead, but rather to support them in their endeavours. One activity we organize is PES Days (Prayer-Evangelization-Sharing), where everyone can meet and get to know each other.
"The Office is invaluable. To ensure faith education for all ages, as well as for all Francophones, Anglophones, and cultural communities, is truly something!"
This position doesn't frighten you? "Ah! Let's just say that I took a long time to think about it... I finally decided to meet the challenge for two reasons: our Archbishop, Most Reverend Lépine, offered me the position personally, and, most importantly, we have a fantastic team!"
Louise Boisvert had been a teacher her entire career before Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte asked her to work at the Archdiocese in 2011. She taught English, and then religion, mainly at Collège Regina Assumpta, for 18 years. She is a member of Notre Dame de Vie secular Institute.