By Alison Bradish

He describes his mission as journeying with the dying and practices a radical availability to be true to this call.

Deacon Harper Boucher is a resident of Deer Valley, near Lumsden.   Raised in eastern Canada, the eleventh child of 12, Boucher was surrounded by the faith at home and school.

“I was always called to serve the Lord. When I was a young boy, I seriously discerned about becoming a priest.  I went to University for that reason.  However, I did not fulfill that call,” says Boucher who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick.  

After completing his degree, he joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  He served as a regular police officer and would eventually become a Deputy Commissioner, the second highest rank in the RCMP. 

“What gives me joy is being of service to others,” says Boucher about his former career choice as a Mountie. “Service in regard to brining God in some format or another just by living out my Christian values.”

He served in the RCMP for 40 years, working in every province except Alberta and British Columbia.  During those years his formal education continued.  He obtained his Bachelor of Education from Mount Allison in Sackville, New Brunswick.  A degree in human justice, a diploma in educational administration and a Masters in Adult Education from the University of Regina would follow.

At age 64 he entered the permanent deaconate program through the Archdiocese of Regina, making him one of the oldest Deacons of the group of nine who were ordained June 15th, 2018.

Deacon Harper and his wife Rose Ann have been married for 46 years and have a daughter and a son. Rose Ann worked as a nurse up until 1994 when she was diagnosed cancer.  Since then she has actively volunteered with the Canadian Cancer Society visiting women suffering from breast cancer.  Their family was posted in Ottawa when Rose Ann was diagnosed, and the couple were taking Pastoral Care training at the time.

Boucher says his family has always been active in each parish they’ve been a part of, and it came as no surprise to his wife, or children, when Boucher followed the call to be a Deacon.

He is grateful for the Diaconate program’s practicum opportunity where he served at the Pasqua Hospital and was further able to delve into the pastoral component of the Deaconate program.

Rose Ann continues to serve actively at the Pasqua hospital at times accompanied by Boucher.  His spends much of his time with the elderly in the Lumsden area as well as making trips into Regina when requested.

“The most challenging part of my ministry is time commitment. Seeing that I am going to show up and help somebody and journey with them, that becomes a challenge in making sure that I am there for them…Once a person asks me to journey with them in the last stages of their life, I always want to make sure I am available for that person,” says Boucher.

This availability allows Boucher to pray with them and help them plan their funeral service.

“I wouldn’t describe it as joyful, but I would describe it as being present to an individual and praying with them and seeing their faith.  It awakens my faith when someone else is asking me about God and the final stages of their life and planning for everlasting life,” says Boucher.

“It shows me that God is present.  God is out there.  I see it in others.  I see God in other people who search for his love,” adds Boucher.

What he sees as most needed in his community is being there, being a servant to others.  “The number one challenge I think when we talk about our own communities is being there and especially at their most vulnerable moments.  That’s why I enjoy working with older folks.  Even though I am an older folk.  I enjoy being a servant for them.”

Alison Bradish lives in Moose Jaw with her husband and two children.  They attend St. Joseph’s Parish.   She earned Bachelor of Arts in Journalism at the University of Regina.  She is naturally curious about local and world events.  She writes from her home where she strives to bloom where she is planted.    She often feels pulled to the topics of religion, education and politics.

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