CORNWALL – After a three year pandemic hiatus, the Children’s Treatment Center’s Dinner and Roast brought in a record amount of money Friday night.
Emcee Sean Adams announced $52,000 had been raised for the center that treats children suffering from physical, emotional and sexual abuse. The center receives no government funding, relying entirely on personal, corporate and community donations.
The last roast in 2019, before the pandemic, raised $37,800.
The $100 a plate dinner at the Best Western Parkway Inn saw Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher on the receiving end of situational jokes, stories and his progression through the Catholic church over his career.
The roasters were friend Martin Callan, Rev. Pierre Aube, Msgr. Kevin Maloney, accountant Michael Despatie and lawyer David Sherriff-Scott.
“I must admit I wasn’t impressed with the list of speakers this evening” Durocher said in his rebuttal, tongue in cheek, to raucous laughter.
“Each of you who have spoken this evening were a gift to me in the years that I was here and still are,” Durocher reflected. He was bishop of the then-Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese from 2002 to 2011 before being named archbishop of the Gatineau, Que. archdiocese, where he now lives.
On a more serious note, Durocher called Cornwall an “extraordinary” city where “people care for each other and invest in themselves for the good of this community.”
“I tell them (people in his travels) about the Celebrity Breakfast. Where else do you get people to fork out $100 for a plate of bacon and eggs with cold toast?” he said to laughter. “And a thousand of them do it…a thousand people. At the same time they take the time to listen to a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. To learn about the horror that (it) is,” the Archbishop said.
Durocher said it’s remarkable how society is just learning about sexual abuse within minor sports. “We’re just starting to say things have to change…they have to change all over the place. The sad reality is that most abuse occurs in the context of the family. It’s a scourge and it requires a cultural change.”
“This is what is extraordinary about Cornwall. It’s the only the community that I know of that has decided to embrace that change as a community. To stand up for what is right and to say what is wrong can not go on.”
“It lift my hat to all of you…may my final words be words of praise and thanksgiving to God for the work of the community here through the Children’s Treatment Center,” Durocher concluded to a standing ovation.