Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to a great missionary who was taken from us on March 12, 2011. My cousin, André Lachapelle, the sole Quebec victim of the tragedy in Japan, was a priest who dedicated his life to all Christians. His nickname was “le Japonais” and though he returned home only once every two years, each of his visits was a celebration.
Last summer we celebrated his 50 years of priesthood in his birthplace, Saint-Jacques-de-Montcalm. He was deeply and sincerely committed to the missions in Japan. He was ordained in 1960 and left for his first mission to Japan the following year. In 2010, he received a certificate from the Japanese justice department thanking him for 25 years of service at the Sendai prison. He had also written three books in Japanese.
Memorial masses were celebrated in his honour: one in Laval for foreign mission priests and one in Saint-Jacques for family and friends. I know that for a man of religion, death is not the last sleep, but the final awakening. Sayonara domo arigato.