Death of The Most Reverend François Thibodeau, C.J.M.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

The Bishop Emeritus of Edmundston, the Most Reverend François Thibodeau, C.J.M., passed away on Monday, 26 June 2023 at the Résidence Domaine Mahonia in Quebec City. He was 83 years of age. He had lived in the Congregation of Jesus and Mary (also known as the Eudists) of Quebec since the end of his ministry as the fifth Bishop of Edmundston in 2009, when he was succeeded by the Most Reverend Claude Champagne, O.M.I.

Born in St-Odilon, Quebec, on 27 July 1939, Bishop Thibodeau studied philosophy at Sacré-Coeur Seminary in Charlesbourg, Quebec and theology at the St. Jean-Eudes Scholasticate in Pointe-Gatineau, Quebec. He was ordained to the priesthood in St-Odilon, Quebec by Archbishop Joseph Aurèle Plourde, on 8 May 8 1965. A few years later, he began studies in social work at Laval University, Québec, following which he was appointed director of social affairs for the archdiocese of Québec, from 1971 to 1986.

Bishop Thibodeau was editor-in-chief of Pastorale-Québec, the Québec diocesan publication, from 1986 to 1990. Until his episcopal ordination, he served as provincial superior of the North American Eudist Fathers and Brothers.

Appointed Bishop of Edmundston on 20 October 1993, Bishop Thibodeau was consecrated 9 January 1994, in the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Edmundston, by Bishop Gérard Dionne, Bishop Emeritus of Edmundston.

Besides taking an active part in numerous activities at the community, diocesan, and national levels, Bishop Thibodeau was also a well-known composer of religious songs and author of a popular book composed of some of his weekly reflections, under the title Au jardin de Dieu, sermons l’amour! (“In God’s Garden, Let Us Sow Love!”).

Bishop Thibodeau was active in the Atlantic Episcopal Assembly, serving as First Vice President and then President and as Liaison between Major Superiors and Bishops. He was also active in the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, where he served as chair of the Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs and a member and chair of the Episcopal Commission on Social Communications, as well as serving as a member of the National Council of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.

The remains will lie in state on Wednesday, 5 July 2023, at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Edmundston, followed by the diocesan funeral and the interment in the Cathedral crypt.

The Diocese of Edmundston was erected by His Holiness Pope Pius XII on 16 December 1944. It encompasses the counties of Madawaska and Victoria and the western part of Restigouche. As of 2021, it had a Catholic population of 42,637; it had 18 priests and 31 in consecrated life.