King's Chaplain Michael Béchard travels to Rome as CTV's papal conclave commentator
March 11, 2013
Since the surprising announcement of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, Father Michael Béchard, Chaplain of King’s University College, has been featured as an expert on CTV regarding the Papal resignation. Last week, after the Cardinals arrived at the Vatican, Father Béchard was asked by CTV to join the crew in Rome to provide live commentary.
For Father Béchard, this has been an incredible opportunity to spread the word of evangelization and to demystify the Papal Conclave process for Canadians.
“Personally, it’s a tremendous opportunity to be part of history. It’s one that very, very few people will ever have the chance to do,” says Father Béchard. “To be given the responsibility of helping it make sense to people is fairly awe-inspiring for me. I’m really humbled.”
No stranger to television, Father Béchard provided commentary for CTV throughout the 2002 World Youth Day held in Toronto. He was previously featured on CTV as a papal commentator in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II. In addition, he has been interviewed on numerous occasions by CTV, CBC and The London Free Press on issues related to the Church, interfaith dialogue, liturgy, and the ministry of the Holy Father.
King’s Principal Dr. David Sylvester notes that Father Béchard’s approachable personality, coupled with a deep knowledge and experience in liturgical matters, make him an excellent on-air commentator.
“The election of a new pope is a significant historical event in international politics and in the life of the Catholic Church,” states Sylvester. “King’s is very proud that our own Fr. Michael has taken on this exciting opportunity to represent our community in Rome.”
Father Béchard completed his undergraduate degree at King's University College, and went on to study theology at St. Peter's Seminary. He was ordained as a deacon for the Diocese of London in 1994 and a presbyter in 1995, and has served at various parishes in the Diocese of London.
After completing his masters at the University of Notre Dame, he began his current position at King’s in 2000. Father Béchard is the Chaplain, Director of the Office of Campus Ministry and the Pastor of Christ the King University Parish.
While at King’s, he completed his Doctorate of Ministry at the Graduate Theological Foundation. He has taught a number of different courses at St. Peter's Seminary and also lectures at King's University College. He is the Chair of the King’s Centre for Jewish-Catholic-Muslim Learning.
Father Béchard’s liturgical background and understanding of the role of ministry in the Church has led him to this once in a lifetime opportunity.
“To be able to use some of the skills that God’s given me and to take away speculations or conspiracies and inform viewers on what’s actually going on is probably the greatest honour,” says Father Béchard. “I know that, even if it’s just a small way, I can help shape the conversation for Canadians.”