I recently read a quote from Mary Shelley: "Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world." These last few days, after having learned of Father Maurice Bélanger's passing, it became apparent to me that death allows a extra burst of life to spring forth in so many lives.
I have received so many testimonies of persons who have shared with me beautiful moments that they experienced with Father Maurice: his contagious laugh, his unconditionnal welcoming of everyone, his apostolic zeal without bounds, his profound desire that each person has a personal encounter with Jesus. That is a sight that life continue to spring forth through the commitment of this man, this priest who gave himself wholeheartedly to the very end.
Father Maurice was a man of contact and audacity. How many people do not remember a personal letter that would arrive for their birthday or anniversary, or be totally surprised to se Father Maurice name each one of their children and sometimes their grandchildren... It is under his watch as director general of the Pius X Secular Institute that the region of Colombia had a great development which today has expandes to many other Latin American countries.
These past few weeks, I had the occasion to visit with Father Maurice and share with him. I would underline in our conversation that he was profoundly happy and at peace... Even though he was homebound the last few months, he still kept contact with many people through phone calls or letters. His diary of the past few years are a witness of the daily Mass intentions for which he prayed and the persons with whom he was in contact on an almost daily basis. The fish hook he proudly wore on his coat was more than a symbol... it was a reminder that he was still a man with a great apostolic mission.
Father Maurice passed away peacefully in his apartment at the Résidence Cardinal-Vachon on May 7th 2018 at the age of 86. He spent almost 60 of those years as a priest of the Pius X Secular Institute.
Father Maurice was born in St-Vallier de Bellechasse on April 10th 1932. Ordained to the priesthood on June 5th 1958 for the Archdiocese of Quebec, he spent his first year of ministry at Notre Dame de Lévis Parish. From 1959 to 1961, he was a teacher and discipline master at the Petit Séminaire de Québec. He became a consecrated member of the Pius X Secular Institute in September 1961; he participated in various apostolates of evangelization with the Catholic Messengers of the Bible, and as chaplain at the Manoir Charles de Foucauld and the Centre de réadaptation de Québec. In 1967, he returned to parish ministry in Roxbury (Massachussetts) for a few years before starting a fruitful ministry in La Rencontre movement. From 1976 to 1980, he was a pastoral assistant at Ste-Marthe Parish in Thetford Mines. From 1980 to 1985, he devoted himself to the spiritual animation and accompaniment of La Rencontre movement. He was then elected as director general of the Pius X Secular Institute, a responsibility he exercised with great generosity till 1993. From 1993 to 2001, he renewed with parish ministry as pastoral assistant at St-Louis de Courville Parish, before crossing the St Lawrence River to exercise this same ministry at St-Joseph de Lévis Parish from 2001 to 2004. From 2004 to 2011, he was named chaplain of the Sisters Augustines de la Miséricorde de Jésus at the Hôpital Général de Québec. Since 2011, he lived at the Résidence Cardinal-Vachon where he continued to live out a ministry of accompaniment with hundreds of friends and families.
He will be sadly missed by the consecrated and associate members of the Pius X Secular Institute, by the collaborators of his apostolic Family and by his sister Monique, his brother Jean-Marc, and his sister-in-law, Monique as well as many nephews, nieces, cousins and friends.
Friends and family may visit at the
Maison du Renouveau,
870 Carré de Tracy Est,
Sunday, May 13th from 2:00 to 5:00 pm and from 7:00 to 10:00 pm
and Monday, May 14th starting at 8:30 am.
A funeral mass will be celebrated on Monday, May 14th at 10:00 am at St-Louis-de-Courville Church, 2315 avenue Royale, Québec.
Burial will be held at a later date at St-Vallier de Bellechasse.
For those wishing to make a donation in memory of Father Maurice, your gift can be sent to Institut Séculier Pie X, CP 87731 Succ. Charlesbourg, Québec (QC) G1G 5W6.
Please keep Father Maurice in your prayers as well as his family and all those who came to Christ because of the total giving of his life to the mission.
Please share this information with all those who knew Father Maurice, especially in La Rencontre movement.
Fr. Marcel Caron, ispx