Bouvier lived in Manitoba all his life and had a brother and a sister.
He finally said “yes” to being a priest after being called to it several times, Patterson said.
He told people that “in love, God wanted him, and in love he wanted God.”
Bouvier spent 35 years as the pastor of a church he built, and also built a second church. One of his proudest moments was building and founding St. Emile School in Manitoba in 1960, St. Bonaventure representatives said.
Bouvier also enjoyed trekking through Europe, Patterson added, and has served as chaplain for many cruise ships. Bouvier has come to Orange County each fall for the past 22 years, where he spends the winter before returning home to Manitoba.
He has spent the past 20 serving at St. Bonaventure Church.
“The first time he set eyes on Huntington Beach was as a young priest hitchhiking from Winnipeg all the way to the Pacific Ocean,” Patterson said.
This year, Bouvier made the difficult decision to move back to Canada and live there full-time.
“If I may say so, when I think of Father Lionel, I think of someone who has a passion for Christ, the Church and the Eucharist,” Patterson said. “He has a deep longing that everyone experience the Eucharist as the most profound, intimate encounter possible with the Lord. As he is fond of saying, Mass is a ‘meeting with Jesus.’”
Reporter CANDICE BAKER may be reached at (714) 966-4631 or at email@example.com.