Pope Francis appointed Bishop Olivier de Germay archbishop of Lyon this Thursday, October 22. “A big surprise”, for the interested party himself, Bishop of Ajaccio since 2012. “When the nuncio told me about this appointment, I didn’t feel up to the task at all, confides Bishop de Germay. But ultimately, it’s very biblical: God chooses the one that no one thinks about. “
The name of the Bishop of Ajaccio circulated very little among those put forward to succeed Cardinal Barbarin. “We were impatiently awaiting the appointment of a titular bishop”, entrusted to The cross Bishop Michel Dubost, who is due to return from Lebanon where he was leading a delegation from Lyon, visiting the twin diocese of Antélias. Apostolic administrator of the diocese since June 24, 2019, Bishop Emeritus of Évry Corbeil-Essonnes is delighted with the appointment of Bishop de Germay: “He will be welcome in Lyon. “
“The priority is the proclamation of Christ in this world”
It is a young 60-year-old bishop who becomes the Primate of the Gauls, Metropolitan Archbishop, Chancellor of the Catholic Institute of Lyon: “This mission is beyond me and I receive it with confidence. “ This discreet man weighs his words. He loves the field, the liturgies, the popular faith, and it is not certain that the media exposure of his predecessor is suitable for one who insists on the mission: “The priority is the proclamation of Christ in this world in search”, he confides to The cross.
With his soothing voice, he wants to encourage and accompany. He will have a lot to do on the hill of Fourvière. The new Primate of Gaul knows from afar the riches of his new diocese, youth ministry, ecumenism, social Christianity: “There is a real missionary dynamic which must function in communion to play the same score. The life of a diocese is not the bishop, it is the collective work of many men and women. “
Listening to the victims
To unite the diocese therefore, and also to heal the wounds of a Church in Lyon which has been tried in recent years by cases of sexual abuse. “I arrive with a lot of humility and I think first of the victims. Before, we did not speak, we defended the institution: those days are over, we must listen to the victims and take their word seriously. The work is already well advanced ”, entrusts the one who owes his episcopal motto to Saint Paul: “Christ loved the Church. “
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Member of the Commission for Catechesis and the Catechumenate, as well as of the Church and Bioethics working group of the Conference of Bishops of France, Bishop de Germay wants to be a man of dialogue, without looking for microphones: “Of course, we must denounce injustices, but let us ensure that human diversity is not an obstacle to fraternity. “
200 parachute jumps
From his family rooted in Touraine, he received a deep faith, and from his father general of division, a first military vocation. Trained at Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan, he was captain of the 1er Tarbes parachute hussar regiment. He served in particular in Africa, in Kuwait, totaling more than 200 jumps.
At the age of 30, during an external operation, a question jostled him, without the symbolic beauty of the desert being in question: “I met people there who lived on three times nothing and who were happier than me. People who exuded an inner peace. I suddenly realized that I was moving away from the essential… ”, he confided to the local press when he arrived in Ajaccio in 2012.
During a retreat at the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Fontgombault (Indre), the call to the priesthood is essential. Trained at the seminary of Paray-le-Monial (Saône-et-Loire), at the Catholic Institute of Toulouse and at the French Seminary of Rome, the former para was ordained on May 17, 1998. Priest of the diocese of Toulouse for 14 years , Olivier de Germay mainly exercised parochial responsibilities while being a professor of sacramental and family theology at the Catholic Institute of Toulouse, before being appointed by Benedict XVI Bishop of Ajaccio in February 2012. And today, by Pope Francis, Archbishop of Lyon.