Tuesday, October 31, 2006

His Excellency Archbishop Louis-Joseph
Arthur Melanson (1879-1941)
Second Bishop of the Gravelbourg
Diocese from 1933 to 1937.

His Excellency Archbishop Louis-Joseph-Arthur Melanson was born in Trois-Rivières on March 25, 1879. Soon after, his family moved to New Richmond in Cascapedia Bay, New Brunswick. He studied theology in the seminairies of Rimouski and Montréal.

Arthur Melanson joined the Chatham Diocese in New Brunswick where he was ordained into priesthood by Bishop Barry on July 9, 1905. He was assigned to the Campbellton Parish as assistant priest where he dedicated his first years of ministry to the pioneers living in the forest near Colebrook and Glenlivet. Pastor of Balmoral in 1907, he was also entrusted with the care of the lumber camps. His efforts initiated a movement of colonization which succeeded in the founding of two new parishes.

In 1909, he was confided to the Campbellton Parish. In 1925, Father Melanson founded the teaching order of the Daughters of Mary of the Assumption. In 1930, he became Vicar General of the Chatham Diocese and was made Protonotary Apostolic by the Holy See. He was elected second Bishop of the Gravelbourg Diocese on November 25, 1932, and was consecrated in Chatham by the Apostolic Delegate, the Most Reverend Andrea Cassulo, on February 22, 1933.

Bishop Melanson was a firm supporter of all forms of Catholic action : youth movements, religious or lay vocations, Collège Mathieu, study groups and the Catholic Press. He was committed to the task of ensuring the survival and development of the young Church of the prairies assigned to him by the Sovereign Pontiff. His first pastoral letter, "Catholic Action; The Apostolate of the Laity in the Diocese", was published at the beginning of Lent during his first year in Gravelbourg.

Bishop Melanson founded an annual pilgrimage in honour of Mary and chose Our Lady of Auvergne Sanctuary in Ponteix. Gravelbourg's first diocesan congress on Catholic Action was held in 1935. Soon after, Bishop Melanson started a diocesan newspaper, "La Voix Catholique". The Most Reverend Arthur Melanson was promoted to Archbishop of Moncton on December 16, 1936, and was consecrated on February 22 of the following year. Archbishop Arthur Melanson died on October 23, 1941, in Moncton.


Marie Cecile said...

I think it's great to have family that has followed in the footsteps of Jesus.

We too have had Sisters and Brothers that have been in community and some who have left because of family illness.

My mom has a cousin in France who is a Mother Superior, unless she has retired her position. It's been years since we have seen her.

I am happy that you have had someone who has gone to the ranks of Archbishop and done the work of the Lord. What a wonderful right up you gave him. Thank you for sharing this with us.

God love you

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Thank you for that Marie-Cecile. Archbishop Melanson is remembered fondly to this day for his patience, his ardent zeal and his tireless promotion of Gospel values.

May he intercede for us; that we may imitate his example of apostolic fervor.

Marie Cecile said...

Paul, I am sorry for mentioning my family, when yours is in focus. It's not about mine but yours. Forgive me.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

What's to apologize for? You should be proud of your family's accomplishments. Pride has many faces. There is a healthy pride which is borne not out of arrogance but of love and accomplishment.

We accomplish all things in Christ. Therefore, your family's accomplishments are Christ's accomplishments.

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