Mgr. Georges Cabana 1952-1968
The fifth Bishop and the second Archbishop Mgr. Georges Cabana 1952-1968
Biographic record :
Born in Notre-Dame de Granby on 23 October 1894, Georges Cabana was the fourth of a family of 18 children. After his classical studies in the seminaries of Sherbrooke and Saint-Hyacinthe, he undertook his theological studies at the Grand Séminaire de Montréal. He was the first priest to be ordained in Granby on 28 July 1918 by Mgr. Hermann Brunault, bishop of Nicolet. From 1917 to 1921, he held the function of master of discipline and teacher at the Saint-Hyacinthe minor seminary. Thereafter, he teaches French and liturgy for ten years in Toronto major seminary. Mgr. Decelles brought him back to Saint-Hyacinthe in 1931 to fulfill different functions : teacher in the minor seminary, curate of Mgr. Desranleau at Saint-Pierre de Sorel, chaplain at the Hôpital Saint-Charles, spiritual director as well as theology and liturgy professor in the new Saint-Hyacinthe major seminary in 1935. Elected titular archbishop of Anchialo in 1941, he became coadjutor administrator with right of succession in Saint-Boniface, Manitoba. After almost eleven years of having held this position, Mgr. Cabana was promoted coadjutor archbishop of Mgr. Desranleau in Sherbrooke on 29 January 1952. After the latter's death, 28 May 1952, Mgr. Cabana became the fifth bishop and second archbishop of Sherbrooke.
From the very start of his episcopacy, he presided the Campagne de la Juste Part in favor of the minor and major seminaries (1953); he negociated for the foundation of the Université de Sherbrooke, which was announced on 23 February 1954; he extended the Grand Séminaire des Saints-Apôtres (1954); he set in motion the rosary crusade for the Marian Year (1954); he saw to finish the building of the cathedral (1956-1957); he founded a diocesan mission in Brasil (1957); he organized a diocesan eucharistic congress (1959); he consecrated the cathedral on 23 and 24 June 1959; he obtained a decree from Rome to raise the cathedral to a minor basilica (1959); he introduced the beatification cause of Mère Marie-Léonie Paradis to Rome (1966); he built the Pavillon Mgr-Racine for retired priests (1967-1968); he presided over the second diocesan synod (1962); he took part in the four sessions of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). He became the first Grand Chancellor of the Université de Sherbrooke (1954-1968); he obtained the opening of a Theology Faculty in 1964; he was State chaplain of the Knights of Columbus (1953-1966). He fostered the opening of five Externats classiques (regional extensions of the minor seminary) : in Lac-Mégantic (1952), Magog (1953), Coaticook (1953), Asbestos (1956) and Windsor (1960).
Mgr. Cabana made possible the arrival of many feminine religious communities in the diocese. He also welcomed many masculine religious communities. During his episcopacy, Mgr. Cabana founded thirteen parishes. Following the Second Vatican Council, he promoted renewal in catechesis and liturgy; he initiated development of ecumenism; he formed the Presbyterial Council and the Diocesan Pastoral Council; he paid attention to working with the media; he encouraged pastoral work with couples and families. In May 1968, he retired at the Sœurs du Bon Pasteur in Montréal. He came back to Sherbrooke in 1976, residing at the Pavillon Mgr-Racine. He died in Sherbrooke Hôtel-Dieu Hospital on 6 February 1986 and was buried in the crypt of the cathedral.