Just as the day was coming to an end, the new Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, Father Davide Pagliarani, and the 40 other capitulants have decided to proceed to the election of the two General Assistants.
The 2nd Assistant elected is Father Christian Bouchacourt, of French nationality. Aged 59, he was ordained priest in 1986 by Archbishop Lefebvre. For a long time he was stationed in Paris, especially at Saint-Nicolas du Chardonnet, before becoming District Superior of South America and then, in 2014, District Superior of France.
The 1st Assistant elected is Bishop Alfonso Galarreta, auxiliary bishop of the Society, of Spanish nationality. Aged 61, he was ordained priest in 1980 at Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he lived for a certain time. In the past he has held the roles of Rector of Our Lady Co-Redemptrix Seminary at La Reja, Argentina, and superior of the Autonomous House of Spain and Portugal. He was 2nd Assistant of the Society from 2002 to 2006. Until now, he resided in Geneva, Switzerland.
Now that these elections have taken place, the General Chapter will be able to address the numerous questions which have been proposed for discussion, until July 21st 2018.
What has been your experience within the Society of Saint Pius X?
Thanks to my superiors, I had the opportunity to follow the whole course of an ordinary priest. I was a vicar, then I was prior for about a decade in Unieux, in the region of Saint-Etienne, where I was very happy. Then I was appointed chaplain for the chapel in Wagram, in other words, the mother of Saint-Nicolas, and that’s where it all started! Tradition had been preserved at that place, thanks to Msgr. Ducaud-Bourget and Father Serralda. Then I was assigned for six years to [the Church of] Saint-Nicolas du Chardonnet, where I had marvelous moments as a parish priest, ministering to Parisians. It is a fantastic ship [to pilot]!
Then my superiors decided that I had to go and see other parts of the world… and therefore I traveled to South America for eleven years. I spoke almost no Spanish, but for my superiors that was not a problem. I was there for 11 years, and I experienced other climates, a very lively Christianity, and there too I was very happy.
I returned when my superiors asked me to take charge of the District of France. That too is a fantastic ship [i.e. position], and I was fortunate enough to have to take care of priests; that was my joy. Dealing with priests is truly the most beautiful thing for a superior. Dealing with priests, dealing with priestly vocations, dealing with religious vocations, taking care of our brothers and taking care of our sisters who do so much good too in our priories and our schools.
How will your priestly experience serve you in your new duties?
In any case, what is certain is that I will apply all this experience that Providence has given me so as to help the Rev. Father Pagliarani; and I believe that the fact that I have had the joys and the sorrows of a priest at all levels may be able—as far as I’m concerned—to help the priests in their ministry, and to try to console them and encourage them. But above all my role will be to help the Rev. Father Pagliarani in his office. The role of Assistant is an unobtrusive role. Above all it is about assisting our new captain.
You were acquainted with Father Davide Pagliarani in Argentina…
He was rector of the seminary in La Reja and we collaborated two or three years, I no longer remember that clearly. It was a marvelous collaboration. You see, above all, for a district superior, the heart of the district is the seminary! And he always welcomed me very nicely, and we always got along very well. Oh, well, my word, I hope and am convinced that that was a prelude to a good collaboration. But in fact, for three years I stopped by the seminary almost every week, and Father Pagliarani welcomed me royally.