Death of The Most Reverend Jacques Berthelet, C.S.V. Bishop Emeritus of Saint-Jean-LongueuilFriday, February 01 2019
Ottawa – The Most Reverend Jacques Berthelet, C.S.V., Bishop Emeritus of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, died on 25 January 2019 at the age of 84. After 24 years serving the Diocese of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, first as Auxiliary Bishop (1986-1996) then as Bishop (1996-2010), he had submitted his resignation to the Holy Father upon reaching the age of 75, as required by the Code of Canon Law, and which was accepted on 28 October 2010.
Bishop Berthelet was born on 24 October 1934 in Montréal, Québec. He entered the Clerics of St. Viator in 1957 in Montréal. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Montréal in 1957, followed by a Bachelor of Theology from the Scolasticat Saint-Charles de Joliette at the University of Montréal in 1962. Bishop Berthelet was ordained to the priesthood on 16 June 1962 by the Most Reverend Léo Blais in Montréal, Québec. He subsequently completed two additional academic degrees obtaining a Bachelor of Education in Pedagogical Studies from the University of Montréal in 1963 and a Licenciate in Theology from the University of Fribourg in Fribourg, Switzerland in 1964.
Bishop Berthelet devoted the early years of his ministry to education as a professor of theology at the Scolasticat Saint-Charles de Joliette (1967-1968) and the Faculty of Theology at the University of Montréal (1968-1972). He then became the Formation Director and Novice Master for the Clerics of St. Viator (1971-1972) before he moved to Rome to assume the role of Vicar General for his religious community (1972-1978). He returned to Montréal in 1978 when he was appointed Provincial Superior of the Clerics of St. Viator, a role he held until 1984. Concurrently with his role as Provincial Superior, he also served as the Vice President of the Canadian Religious Conference-Québec Region from 1982-1984.
From 1984 to 1987, Bishop Berthelet served as Superior General of the Clerics of St. Viator. He was appointed as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Saint-Jean-Longueuil on 19 December 1986 and ordained Bishop at the Saint-Jean-L’Évangéliste Cathedral in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec on 27 March 1987 by Bishop Bernard Hubert. On 27 December 1996, he was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Saint-Jean-Longueuil and installed on 25 January 1997.
During his tenure as Auxiliary and then Bishop for the Diocese of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, Bishop Berthelet was actively involved with the Assembly of Québec Bishops becoming a member of the Theology and Education Committees (1987-1993), the Ministry Committee (1993-1998), the Executive Committee (1994-1998), and the Planning Committee (2002-2008). He likewise served as a member of the Interfaith and Intercultural Relations Committee.
As a member of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), Bishop Berthelet served in many roles including President from 2001-2003. In addition to his term as President, he served as a member of the former Episcopal Commission for Theology on two occasions, the former Committee of Programs and Priorities (1991-1995), and later Chaired this same committee (1999 to 2001). He served as a member of the Permanent Council on three occasions: first, as a representative of the Committee of Programs and Priorities (1991-1993) with the second and third occasions as the representative of the French Sector (1997-1999 and 2006-2007 respectively). He served as the Chair of the former Episcopal Commission for Relations with Priests, Laity and Religious (1991-1995) and as a member of the Episcopal Commission for Liturgy (French Sector, 1995-1999). His role on the Executive Committee for the CCCB began as Co-Treasurer (1997-1999) then as Vice President (1999-2001) prior to his term as President of the Conference. Bishop Berthelet represented the CCCB as a delegate to two Synods: the Synod of Bishops on Consecrated Life (1994) and the Synod of Bishops for America (1997). For over 10 years, beginning in 2000, Bishop Berthelet served as a consultor to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life of the Holy See.
He will lie in state on Sunday, 3 February 2019, from 2:00 pm to 8:30 pm, at the residence of the Clerics of St. Viator Community (450, avenue Querbes, in Outremont/Montréal), and the next day, Monday, 4 February at 10:00 am, in the Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue Co-Cathedral (corner of rue Saint-Charles and chemin Chambly, in Longueuil). The funeral Mass, presided by the Most Rev. Lionel Gendron, P.S.S., Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, will follow at 1:00 pm. The remains will then be transferred to the Saint-Jean-L’Évangéliste Cathedral (215, rue Longueuil, in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu) for Vespers celebration at 4:00 pm, followed by the burial in the Bishops’ crypt.