This summer, we are pleased to welcome two Cathedral tour guides: Alex LeBlanc and Sophia Pacione. Learn about Alex below.
Learning to Adapt
I have been waiting for the last three years to return to the Cathedral as a tour guide. When I was a tour guide back in 2019, I truly enjoyed the experience of connecting with people each day. Over the last three years, before I returned to working as a tour guide, I continued to bring people into the Cathedral for free. For example, I recently brought my minister and his husband from Spain for a tour. I enjoyed giving the Cathedral tours so much in 2019 that I just wanted to bring people that I know to see it.
I have learned to adapt each tour to the person, family, or group. I either take out information or go beyond the official tour information, adding extra details when the visitors are interested in learning more. I know much more of the history of the Cathedral than is required.
For me, I feel that it is important to be productive. For example, going beyond my duties, I helped out with the eucharist at a 10 a.m. service and recently, I helped Hank Williams bring out cake from the sacristy after worship.
The Cathedral was my church previously, but I now attend Nashwaaksis United Church, and I was confirmed there. At first, I was very hesitant to take communion at the Cathedral. Was I allowed to take it? However, we're all Protestant, all branches on the same tree of Christianity. This month on the north side, the Nashwaaksis United Church, the Nashwaaksis Baptist Church, and St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church are partnering up for services. It’s nice to have the Anglican and United churches together.
I feel a connection when I come in the Cathedral. I now do the things that other people do in an Anglican church. For example, I bow my head towards the altar. It has become a habit. I unlock the doors and bow my head right away.
I have done a lot of volunteer work at the Cathedral and at Nashwaaksis United Church. I feel connected to both of them. In 2016, I visited the Cathedral and Hank gave me a tour. Eric Hadley showed me the bells, and I saw the door to the clock tower. I really wanted to wind the clock. For three years, I helped Mark Jacobs wind the 169-year-old Cathedral clock weekly. Then we needed help, so now other people are winding it, too. It was a privilege, at the age of twelve, to learn how to wind the clock from Ken Howlett. He has wound it for over 40 years!
When I was a member of the Cathedral, I was also on the Property Committee. At my present church, I volunteer with my grandmother, who co-chairs the Outreach Committee. We provide for people. It is wonderful to see the joy on people’s faces, especially at Christmas.
In 2020, I deeply wanted to come back to the Cathedral. It was hard leaving the Cathedral tour guide job and then waiting three years to return. To feel this way about a job is really, really special. I wondered if this summer, with COVID, would I feel the same way about being a tour guide as I did in 2019, and I do.
- written by Carol Ann Melvin, based on an interview with Alex LeBlanc
Alexandre LeBlanc is originally from Moncton and moved to Fredericton in grade four. Alex has just graduated from Leo Hayes High School. He is an avid volunteer, dedicating much time to supporting his church. After this summer, Alex will continue in his position working at Walmart.