In Memory

Rev. (Joseph) Pierre Richard, S.F.M.

March/April 2007

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Fr. Pierre Richard passed away on Saturday, February 10 at Toronto Western Hospital in his 75th year. He was the son of Alex and Jeanne Richard, both deceased. Brother of Larry (deceased), Francois, Jean, Antoine, and Dominic of Quebec City and Mrs. Camille Paquet of Ottawa. He was born in Quebec City on November 28, 1931, and ordained to the priesthood on December 22, 1956, in Quebec City by Bishop Lionel Audet.

Rev. (Joseph) Pierre Richard, S.F.M. 1931-2007

Rev. (Joseph) Pierre Richard, S.F.M.

The proud owner of two stoles, Fr. Richard often showed them to visitors. One he received from St. Augustine's Seminary on the occasion of his 50th anniversary of priesthood last year. The other he received from the Queen in recognition of his military service.

Fr. Pierre was first assigned to mission in the Philippines (1957-59), and then to the Dominican Republic. In 1962 he returned to Canada to work in public relations for Scarboro Missions. From 1964 to 1983, he served as Army Chaplain with the Canadian Armed Forces and was stationed at bases across Canada. In 1969, he was assigned to Cyprus for a year with the Canadian contingent, and in 1973 to the U.N. emergency peacekeeping force in the Middle East for a year.

By 1977 he had reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. During his term as Command Chaplain he directed the activities of Roman Catholic chaplains for the land element of the Canadian Forces based in St. Hubert, Quebec, and the air element of the Canadian Forces in Trenton, Ontario.

In 1985, Fr. Pierre returned to Scarboro Missions headquarters to serve as Treasurer General. After a sabbatical at Ecce Homo, the Center for Biblical Formation in Jerusalem (1989-90), he was appointed by Rome as Director of Pontifical Missions in Toronto (1991-96). He then returned to Scarboro Missions and resumed responsibilities as Treasurer before retiring in 2002.

Fr. Richard was waked at the Scarboro Missions chapel on Friday, February 16, with the Mass of the Resurrection celebrated on Saturday, February 17. He was buried at Queen of the Angels Cemetery on the grounds of St. Augustine's Seminary.

Fr. John Walsh gave the homily at the Funeral Mass and spoke of Fr. Richard as "a man engaged with life." They often ate lunch together in the dining room and Fr. Pierre, he said, "was kind to strangers who were occasionally invited to our table."

Fr. Pierre also truly cared for the lay missioners, the Society employees and fellow priests, and spent many days and nights sitting with Fr. Paul Pendergast in Paul's final illness.

Fr. Richard always spoke lovingly – even up to the time of his hospitalization – of his Mother and Father, of family life, of his brothers and sister, even of the family pets, Fr. Walsh said.

One thing that connected these two priests was Confederation Bridge spanning the Northumberland Straight between Fr. Walsh's home province of Prince Edward Island and the province of New Brunswick. Fr. Richard was fascinated by the latest technology used in the construction of the bridge hailed as one of the most significant engineering achievements of the 20th Century.

Of Fr. Pierre's military service, Fr. Walsh said that he "thrived in the ambience of the armed forces and had good memories of his service in the Middle East with the U.N., picking up the local cultures and gaining some understanding of the politics of the area." In closing, Fr. Walsh reminded us that "in human goodness, joy and truth, we also experience the goodness, the joy and the truth of God. This is our Catholic understanding."

Fr. Pierre was that witness for us. May he rest in peace.

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