Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 - Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Cathedral
Congratulations on Designation as National Historic Monument
Hon. Rose-May Poirier: Honourable senators, on August 15, the Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral, a pillar of Acadian culture and history, was designated a national historic monument. Construction on the cathedral began on January 9, 1938, on the initiative of Bishop Louis-Joseph Arthur Melanson, the first titular of the new Archdiocese of Moncton. The site was inaugurated on November 21, 1940, in the presence of Cardinal Villeneuve, head of the Catholic Church in Canada. For us, as Acadians, this building represents an important link between the past and the future.
The cathedral’s cornerstone was donated by the executor of the estate of Bishop Marcel-François Richard, who is known as the father of modern Acadia. The inscription on the stone, which dates back to 1914, reads “Ave Maris Stella,” which is title of the Acadian national anthem. Another stone was also purchased by the Honourable Pascal Poirier, a former Acadian senator.
The cathedral’s pillars were sculpted to represent the occupations of our Acadian ancestors, who were loggers, plowmen, fishermen and so on. The cathedral’s windows depict the history of the Acadian people, and in 2006, a glass mosaic created by artist Claude Roussel was added. It depicts Saint Anne, the patron saint of the Mi’kmaq people, who had close ties with the Acadians.
It is no coincidence that the cathedral bears the name of Our Lady of the Assumption. Not only was Bishop Marcel-François Richard a fervent believer in the Virgin Mary, but Acadians also celebrate their big day on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the excellent work done by the Fondation de la cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption, which is committed to looking after, preserving and restoring the church. Thanks to the foundation’s hard work, the cathedral will stand for a very long time, since major restoration work is already under way. Now that it has been designated a national historic monument, the cathedral has become not only a symbol of Acadian culture, but also a symbol of Canadian heritage.
Honourable senators, join me in celebrating this national recognition for the Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral and congratulating everyone working to safeguard and preserve it.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!