On March 17 after serving three Superior Generals for over a 20-year period, the Generalate Community sadly bid a fond farewell to Fr. Paul Leblanc, C.S.C. Fr. Hugh Cleary, C.S.C., former Superior General, invited Fr. Leblanc to the Generalate in 2002 to assume the role of “Chief of Staff,” overseeing the Italian personnel, maintenance, and house management, which eventually led him to be Local Superior and Procurator General for a number of years. Until his departure, Fr. Leblanc was serving as full-time Generalate House Manager.
For visitors to the Generalate, Fr. Leblanc was usually the first face they saw at Fiumicino Airport upon their arrival. Fr. Leblanc estimates that he made over 2,700 trips to the airport during his two decades in Rome.
The community celebrated a special Mass of Thanksgiving in Fr. Leblanc’s honor on March 15 with Fr. Leblanc as both presider and homilist. In his introduction at the Mass, Fr. KJ Abraham, C.S.C., Second Assistant, said to Fr. Leblanc: “Your witness of forgiveness, kindness, availability, concern for the poor are a few among the many amazing qualities we will miss about you once you leave us. We pray that in the evening of your life, God will bless you with good health of mind and body and that you will enjoy that health in the company of amazing friends.”
Later in the 4th-floor recreation room, Br. Benard Omukuyia, C.S.C., served as emcee for a short program of additional personal tributes by Fr. Robert Epping, C.S.C., Superior General, and Br. Ripon J. Gomes, C.S.C., Third Assistant and Local Superior. Br. Ripon also presented Fr. Paul with a gift on behalf of the General Administration and the entire Congregation for his many years of dedicated service.
Early in the morning on March 17, as a sign of affection and gratitude, several members of the Generalate Community accompanied Fr. Leblanc to Fiumicino Airport for the last time to say their final goodbyes before he boarded his flight for Canada.
Fr. Leblanc will assume his new residence with the Holy Cross Community in Moncton, New Brunswick. His presence, patience, and generosity of time and talent will be missed by all.