Thursday, November 15, 2018



The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
– W.H. Murray

Recently, I completed two priest retreats in the Diocese of London, Ontario, Canada. The money I made, as always, went to my "mission work" down in the Caribbean islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

One priest in particular was so moved by what I was doing in the Caribbean missions that he sent me an e-mail after I got home telling me that he had preached on my mission work and was taking up a collection in the parish since his retirement. I could hardly believe it!

I met him while I was there, but I did not know too much about him so I searched his name on the internet and here is his amazing story!

Gerry Campeau, Catholic priest and father of 2 set to retire. A Roman Catholic priest who's also a father is a bit of an anomaly.

John Van Dusen · CBC News
Posted: Jun 21, 2015 7:01 AM ET
Last Updated: June 21, 2015

Father Gerry Campeau is set to retire next Sunday. (John Van Dusen/CBC News)

Gerry Campeau is not your typical father. He has two kids and seven grandchildren. But the 75-year-old Campeau is better known as Father Gerry. As in, Father Gerry, the Roman Catholic priest.

For the past eight years Campeau has been leading the congregation at St. Simon and St Jude Parish in Belle River, Ont. Last month he decided it was time to step down from the altar and recently held a retirement party. "I ended my speech by saying I really believe priests should be able to marry," Campeau said. "And everybody in the whole hall cheered. Maybe the Bishop wouldn't like that, but what are they going to do, fire me?" A Catholic priest with children is a bit of an anomaly. Remember dad, you're not our priest, you're our father, - Father Gerry Campeau

After Father Gerry's wife passed away from cancer at the age of 52, he says he felt a calling and entered the seminary. It was his second attempt at becoming a priest. After he finished high school, the Tecumseh native enrolled in a seminary but had an early exit. His mother was a divorcee, his father having left her when Gerry was just an infant. When the seminary found out, he was kicked out. "The church didn't want me as a priest simply because it was scandalous," he said. "But you know now, it's no big deal."

Campeau went on to a career as a florist, interior designer and entrepreneur. He married and had two children. Two years after his wife passed away he entered a "second career" seminary in Boston.

"They told me when I was ordained, my daughter did, 'Remember dad, you're not our priest, you're our father,'" he said. For his daughter Celeste Campeau, Father Gerry is simply known as dad. "I really don't know of my father in any other way. This has always been normal for me so I don't really know any other kind of dad," she said. In did, however, cause some confusion for her three children. "When the kids were really little and would announce to their class or teacher that their grandfather was a priest, they would either correct them or call home to find out what the kids were talking about, only because it was so unusual," she said.

For Father Gerry, he incorporates his role as a father and grandfather from his vocation. "He is very well accepted by the people because he understands what it's like to have children, what it's like to have a mortgage, what it's like to worry about a spouses or worry about grandchildren," said Sue Hofgartner, pastoral minister at St. Simon and St Jude. "So he can relate."

Father Gerry says if the church allowed priests to get married, it could work in its favour. "We've lost some good priests because they've wanted to marry," he said. "I think it's important to have a family, to know what it's like to belong to someone, to be able to share your life with someone. That I find most difficult because you're very alone. You have a lot of parishioners, but as soon as you lock that door you're going into your rectory and there's nobody there. And that's hard for a lot of the young guys."

Next Sunday will be Campeau's last mass St. Simon and St. Jude. Though he should expect a number of well wishes from his congregation before then.

"The people are really good. They come out of church on Father's Day, they all wish me happy Father's Day," he said. "It kind of makes me feel good that they acknowledge that I am a father. Father father."


Father Gerry, thank you and your generous Canadian parishioners from the bottom of my heart! The SVG missions thank you too! I wish you a great retirement! If you get bored, call me! I have an island just for you!

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