Celebrating 50th anniversary of priesthood
A familiar face to Catholics across the Hearst Diocese, Fr. Fernand Villeneuve recently celebrated his 50th Anniversary in the priesthood, at a special mass held in Fauquier.
Text submitted by Ms Denise Schmid
It was in a crowded church on Friday June 9, 1917 that the Fauquier-Strickland and Moonbeam communities warmly welcomed their parishioners and all guests, near and far, to attend the celebration of Father Fernand Villeneuve's 50th anniversary.
A Mass of thanksgiving was presided over by Bishop Monsignor Robert Bourgon in the church of Sainte-Agnès de Fauquier at 7 pm. About twenty Knights of Columbus of the 4th degree had the honour to stand guard at the entrance of the procession of celebrants.
After the song of entrance, Monsignor Robert invited those in attendance to a celebration in recognition for the fidelity in the priestly engagement of Father Fernand. It is then that Monseigneur is proud to announce publicly that Fernand, vicar general of the diocese, receives the honorary title of "Chaplain of the Pope" which gives the right to bear the name of "Monseigneur" and that of wearing certain elements of clothing Episcopalians.
To do this, our Bishop had to write to Pope Francis to obtain the privilege. Presently in the Church of Pope Francis, it is the only honorific title that is discerned.
We bear in our memory that Fernand was born in Hallébourg, was ordained a priest in a parish of Hearst (Saint Pius X), and celebrated his first Mass at Lac Ste-Thérèse.
Ms. Yolande Fantham describes her journey through her 50 years of priesthood. We traveled all over the Diocese of Hearst as well as France, Strasbourg, etc.
Students and staff at St-Jules School presented a beautiful spiritual bouquet in the form of daisies, made with great love. On each petal is recorded their prayers, their good deeds, their offerings, etc.
The usual thanks from Father Fernand are offered to Bishop the Bishop, his colleagues, the organizing committee, the Knights of Columbus, the choir and all those who have come to this festival in his honor.
At 9 pm, the participants went to the Fauquier community hall for continuity. It is then that a tablet of food, worthy of a feast, including a representative cake for the occasion, is blessed by Monseigneur Robert. Several testimonies of usage, of relatives and friends, are pronounced.
Around 11:30 pm, accompanied by a full moon, everyone heads home while thinking about this memorable evening.