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Home WHO WE ARE Assumptionists Profiles Fr. LUC MARTEL, A.A.



Interviewer - Fr. Luc, would you share with us some of your family's background and your early education?

Fr. Luc - I was born in Southbridge, MA. To explain how I came by several "step" siblings is an interesting and long story because of a few remarriages on the part of my parents but it made for a lively and enriching extended family. My elementary and high school education was provided by the Sisters of the Assumption (SASV). By the time I was ready for college, my father had had a  leg amputation, so I needed to stay close to home. Since I wanted to teach French, Assumption was an  obvious choice. Sad to say, my Dad died shortly before my ordination in 1973.

- How did those experiences draw you to the congregation?

- After my first year of college, I attended a presentation at the school where they asked for resident advisors. Since I had a car and it provided a minimal stipend, I took the job for a semester living on campus. In my senior year I talked to Frs. Denys Gonthier and Louis Dion about my future. I decided to enter in June of 1966 at Saugerties, NY and was one of fourteen young men.

- Where did your wide and varied journey take you from there?

- I was very interested in religious studies and ecumenism, where Assumption College had an institute. However, I soon moved to our parish at 108th St. in NYC and went to Manhattan College where Gabriel Moran was on the faculty at that time. I then moved on to theological studies at Weston Jesuit in Cambridge, living first in Dedham, MA and then in Brookline. In addition to my own studies, I was teaching two religion courses in Worcester. After finishing my studies in theology, I was appointed Executive Secretary of Ecumenical Studies at Assumption for five very happy years and chair of the Religious Studies Department after three years.

- How did you move into your present ministry of business and finance?

- In January, 1976 under the new Provincial, Fr. Edgar Bourque, A.A. and still living at Austin House in Worcester, I became the provincial treasurer and moved back to NYC where I took courses at NYU. So from 1976 - 1981 I was responsible for twenty-two budget centers in the province.

- How did your international and global ministry in the field of finance develop from there?

- In 1981 I was elected to the General Chapter and subsequently to Assistant General and Treasurer General. I spent twelve very happy years in Rome from 1981 - 1993. During my last three years there, I worked in the Vatican doing budget operations for the Holy See. That assignment was followed by two years in Brighton, MA where I did a sabbatical at Boston University in the School of Theology in business and theology. In the summer of 1994, I went to Germany and eventually to the Ukraine to do workshops in business and finance. through the contacts I had made in Rome. By 1995 I moved to one of our present day missions in Nairobi, Kenya. That was a major cultural change for me as I began working with Congolese seminarians, our candidates and those in the novitiate. In addition, I was treasurer in our main house.

- In what other ways have you seen growth in the congregation and the church in Africa?

- As a result of the leadership of eight Bishops in East Africa who proposed and established an Institute of Evangelization, I served there as chief financial officer for four years. As its enrollment grew, I was asked to stay on for another four years which broadened my ministry to administration. We created a solid core of faculty and were able to offer scholarships to the most needy. My background in French, religious studies, ecumenism, management and finance served me well in all the positions and countries where I have worked.

- Where has your work taken you most recently?

- In 2008 I became involved in the establishment of our development office in Rome where I divide my time with my home base in Nairobi. I also travel when necessary among our houses around the world where I do training in budgeting and finance. Since January, 2010 I have done this in Madagascar, the Philippines, South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia.

- Do you have one among many happy memories to share?

- One happy memory among many honored moments I remember was when I received an honorary doctorate from my alma mater Assumption College.

- Where do you see some strengths and challenges facing the congregation and the Church in the future?

- Certainly the Church is strong and growing in Africa, Asia and Latin America where family values continue to be of a cultural and religious significance. One of our many challenges for both the congregation and the Church is the reduction of our resources which support the mission of Christ. But at the same time we see the Spirit at work among laity  and as always in partnership with the Assumptionists.This gives us reason to hope in the future.

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