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'A guy of the North'

Priest spent 30 years in Kivalliq

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Jan 29/01) - The Kivalliq region is mourning the loss of a dedicated religious leader after Father Georges Lorson died Jan. 20. He was 78.

Lorson had been with the diocese since 1950, spending more than 30 of those years in the Kivalliq.

He spent the past 25 years in Rankin Inlet with Our Lady of the Cape Roman Catholic Church, coming to the hamlet in 1975.

Bishop Reynald Rouleau came from Winnipeg to conduct funeral services.

A joint service was held for Lorson and elder Vincent Innukshuk before a large gathering on Jan. 24.

The bishop said Father Lorson considered himself a "guy of the North" who didn't want to go south.

"In fact, that was probably Father Lorson's biggest fear -- if his health deteriorated more, he might have needed to leave the North," said Bishop Rouleau.

"Just thinking about that possibility was painful for Father Lorson, so, in a sense, his passing was like having his wish realized to stay here.

"He's been buried in Rankin Inlet and, although his death was a shock to both the church and the community, you could say Father Lorson had his wish granted to remain up North."

Father Lorson wasn't as visible in the community during the past 10 years as he had previously been, due to health problems which affected his ability to get around.

But, said Bishop Rouleau, Father Lorson still knew all the people and always had a strong knowledge of the Inuktitut language.

"Father Lorson made a number of translations and wrote, it seems, 100 songs of faith and the North.

"So, I would have to say that rates as one of his biggest accomplishments -- all he did with the Inuktitut language, like writing the history of the church and translating certain parts of the Bible into Inuktitut for his church."