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Montreal's Cardinal Turcotte, cleric with common touch, dies at age 78

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Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, cardinal of the people, died Wednesday in Montreal's Marie-Clarac Hospital.

The 78-year-old cardinal, who served as Montreal's archbishop for 22 years, was diabetic, and his health had been in decline for several months. He was moved to palliative care March 24.

Turcotte was remembered as a populist, a down-to-earth cleric with a common touch who once supported an ad campaign that urged Montreal residents to pray for his beloved Canadiens to make the National Hockey League playoffs.

Christ our light

When asked to describe the mystery of Easter, author Carl Knudsen responded with the following story. Years ago, an old municipal lamplighter, engaged in putting out the street lamps one by one, was met by a reporter who asked him if he ever grew weary of his work. After all, it was a lonely job and the night was cold and damp.

"Never am I cheerless," said the old man, "for there is always a light ahead of me to lead me on."

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January 29-February 11, 2016

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