Sunday, August 06, 2006

Reverend Charles E. DesRuisseaux - Franco-American of the Year

AUGUST 2, 2006

(MANCHESTER, NH) The Reverend Charles E. DesRuisseaux was recently named Franco-American of the Year by the Franco-American Centre of Manchester. The Centre is dedicated to the preservation of the rich heritage of the French community in New Hampshire by promoting its history, culture, and education in order to increase people's understanding of their historic contributions, cultural and artistic expressions in the past as well as in the present.

"Father DesRuisseaux is a gifted pastor who cares deeply about his parishioners and those who attend Saint Anthony of Padua Church and School," said Bishop McCormack. "He takes great pride in his Franco-American heritage as well as in his faith, and has cultivated a deep appreciation for both among the people he serves. This honor recognizes both his leadership in the Franco-American community and also his contribution to the furthering of Franco-American culture among the people of New Hampshire.

The Catholic Church in New Hampshire has benefited greatly from the zealous faith of many Canadian immigrants who helped to build many strong, faith-filled parishes that today make the Catholic Church in New Hampshire vibrant and effective. Commenting on this rich heritage, Bishop McCormack stated that "we see in the early French-Canadian Catholics the same qualities we strive for today. They balanced work, family and community life in a way that allowed each to enrich the other. Our Franco-Canadian ancestors labored - day and night - in the mills; they built strong families; and, gave generously of their time, talent and treasure to help build parish churches, schools, hospitals and social services that formed active parish communities."

"Father Charles DesRuisseaux personifies many qualities of his pastoral predecessors. In 1907, the Most Reverend George A. Guertin, who was appointed the third Bishop of Manchester, was the first bishop in New England to have both a French Canadian mother and father. He left his ministry as pastor of Saint Anthony Parish to become the longest serving bishop in the history of the Diocese of Manchester (1907-1931). It was Father Guertin who convinced the Sisters of the Holy Cross to open a parish school in the basement of Saint Anthony Church in 1904. As we note the 75 anniversary of the death of Bishop Guertin on August 6, we are pleased to honor Father Charles as he stands in a long line of Franco-Canadian priests, deacons, religious and laity who have served and continue to serve the people of New Hampshire well.

In honoring Father Charles, the Franco-Canadian Centre honors all the Catholic faithful of our Diocese who seek to serve the Lord and his people with gladness."