The Committee

Ark of the New Covenant

In preparation for the 49th International Eucharistic Congress, a group of young adults gathered together in May 2005 for a weekend of renewal and discussions, called the Youth Summit. At this gathering, they remembered the World Youth Day Cross and expressed their desire to have a symbolic object criss-cross the country in preparation for the 2008 International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City.

As a followup to the 2005 Youth Summit, a committee of young adults from Quebec City and Montreal was commissioned to design a religious symbol for this purpose. Committee members included Véronique Rondeau, Chantal Laure Faneus, Marie-Dave, Clément Laffitte, Jean-Francis Clermont-Legros, Guylain Roussel, Dominique Vandal, Sister Cécile Gagné RHSJ, Sister Doris Lamontagne PFM, Father Robert Gendreau, Camille Jacques OSM, and Valérie Cloutier.

The Organizing Committee that worked with Cardinal Marc Ouellet in defining the main objectives of the 2008 International Eucharistic Congress enthusiastically welcomed the young people’s proposal. The committee suggested they add the angels in adoration and suggested an evocative name—the Ark of the New Covenant.

Alain Rioux—Carpenter and Sculptor

Alain Rioux

Alain Rioux was born in Quebec City in 1960. This self-taught carpenter and sculptor works out of his home in Ancienne-Lorette. Alain grew up in a family of carpenters who introduced him to the trade at a tender age. At the same time, he developed great interest in the visual arts: painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography. With a workshop always at his disposal, he has always had the opportunity to create, something as necessary to him as breathing. As a young man, Alain started a small woodworking business, and was quickly sought after for décor, advertising signs, scale models, and more. He later completed a year of visual arts studies.

In 1994, while working as a teacher, Alain began sculpting the Virgin Mary, who, he said, would help him pray. This work led him to Saint-Jean-Port-Joli where a local sculptor agreed to give a few lessons, and he rediscovered his passion for woodworking. On March 19, 1995, he registered at École-Atelier de sculpture de Québec, in Limoilou. Then in April 1996, he launched his own business, Art 3D Alain Rioux enr., in a small one-room studio. In his hands have been born sculptures, many of which are of a religious character, as well as liturgical furnishings such as votive stands, kneelers, crosses, altars, lecterns, tabernacles, monstrances, statuary pedestals, and more.

In September 2005, Alain was tasked with creating the Ark of the New Covenant. After finishing the plans, he began work in the winter of 2006. The creation of this symbolic ark manifests Alain’s desire to serve the Church and explore new artistic challenges. It is the crowning achievement of his ten years as a professional artist.

Marc Lepage—Spiritual and Community Leader

Marc is a passionate man, juggling humanitarian work with his job as a spiritual community animator. Despite a full-time job at a south shore Quebec City high school, Marc somehow finds time to take part in missionary projects overseas.
Humanitarian aid has long been one of Marc’s interests. In 1999, during a year-long stay in Romania as chaperone of young students, he fell in love with the country and its people. Since that time, he has spent three to four months each year at La Casa de Copii Santa Maria in Romania, an orphanage housing over 100 children and run by the Oblate Sisters of the Assumption.

Marc Lepage works with Romanian orthodox monks, who paint icons to benefit several orphanages. Profits from the sale of the icons also support the monks’ work. The Organizing Committee for the 40th Eucharistic Congress was deeply moved by the beauty and simplicity of the icons as well as the way they demonstrated international solidarity. Painted in Romania, the icons on the Ark of the New Covenant thus contribute to a humanitarian cause—a perfect reflection of the Eucharist’s missionary dimension.  

© 2008 International Eucharistic Congress