OBITUARY

Fr. Bernard Champagne

January 1, 1933April 14, 2021

Father Bernard Robert Paul Champagne was born New Years Day, 1933 in Haverhill, MA where he attended Saint James Grammar and High School.

At age 19 he entered Saint Joseph’s Trappist Abbey in Spencer, MA staying until 1959. He was furloughed from the Abbey briefly to serve as a Chaplain at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, TX with Honorable Discharge.

In 1959 he transferred to the Benedictines in Weston Priory, VT. In 1965 he departed to live in his own small Monastic style Brotherhoods.

Remaining a Monastic Brother for 39 years he switched to Parish duty in 1991 when Ordained Priest by Bishop Robert Mckenna. Serving as travelling Priest for the Bishop, Father logged thousands of air miles offering the Latin Mass for the growing Traditional movement, mostly in Texas and Louisiana.

The 2000’s saw Father helping to establish Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Orange, CT which offers the Latin Mass.

Father Bernard had devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows from a young age. Saint Dominic Savio and Saint Therese of Liseux were also special to him. As a Priest, Father emphasized continual spiritual reading, mental prayer, frequent attendance at Mass and reception of Holy Communion. They provide spiritual strength to overcome our weaknesses and cope with life’s difficulties.

Father believed being joyful is a mandate for Catholics, as they possess the greatest of treasures. Father Bernard shared a very unique sense of humor.

Requiem Funeral Mass will be celebrated Friday, May 7th at 10:00am at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel (rosarychapel.net), 15 Pepper Street, Monroe, CT 06468. Attendees are requested to be in their pews in the chapel by 9:45am. Interment to immediately follow Mass at Saint John’s Cemetery, 500 Moose Hill Road, Monroe, CT 06468.

May He Rest in Peace.

Services

  • Requiem Mass

    Friday, May 7, 2021

  • Interment

    Friday, May 7, 2021

Memories

Fr. Bernard Champagne

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Linda Petersen

May 7, 2021

I met Fr. Bernard on January 1, 1985. Br. Stephen invited me to benediction at the Dorchester monastery. Fr. Bernard and I shared a love of Gregorian chant, and I soon began playing for his daily mass.
I had a German Shepherd then, and when her kidneys failed and the vet told me she needed to be euthanized, Fr. restored her back to health with daily blessings, walking to my house to bless her until she was able to walk to the monastery again.
A few years later he married my husband and me.
After he landed in Connecticut we visited him at his various chapels in New Haven, Bridgeport, Milford and Orange.
Fr. Bernard drew everyone around him closer to God. I’m glad he was able to continue his work until the end. The world is a colder place without him.

Debbie MacLennan

May 6, 2021

Father Bernard was and will always be very special to me. I will hold my memories of him close to my heart. Father Bernard was the real deal when it came to teaching about God and having true relationships with all the parishioners. Father Bernard came into my life in a very unexpected way and he helped me out when I needed God and him the most. Thank you to Father Bernard for being God's messenger and for all that you have thought my husband and me. We will miss him greatly!!!
From Debbie and Donald MacLennan

Tom Palinko

April 26, 2021

Father Bernard was the friendliest, most accessible and most relentlessly Catholic priest I ever met. He gave me Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament daily, heard my confessions with great sympathy and allowed me to serve the Mass for years, only smiling if I made a mistake. I owe a great deal of my hope for salvation to him, because he taught me the True Faith. I never really knew the Catholic Faith until I met Father Bernard. The first thing he did the day we met was give me a copy of "Bread of Life" by Father Feeney, and explained "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus" to me. The world became a different place. Thank you Father. Requiescat in Pace.

Jennifer Shea

April 26, 2021

I met Father Bernard in March after receiving my breast cancer diagnosis sitting at a local family restaurant in Guilford. I was drawn to him and asked him to pray for me. Every time I went to Guilford for Appointments we went to this restaurant and we saw Fr. Bernard in his long black cloak and I would be drawn to him.
When I found out I had to have chemo I was devastated. I wrote a longer note to father Bernard who was going to start a Latin mass and asked him to “pray harder”. He laughed and said he would. Unique and loved and positive in his own way. I barely new him but am so great full for the little time he had to influence me and my life. I pray for the repose of your soul and that you are seated with our savior eating your noodles:). Love and respect always. Thank you Father Bernard. Jennifer Shea

joe napolitano

April 25, 2021

Fr Bernard taught me more in addition to my 12 years of traditional catholic schooling. Attending catechism classes, frequent holy communion daily, and the like. Just having typical conversations alone coupled with his dynamic speaking did more to gain any listener's attention. I have also known him for 30 years when then he offered Sunday Mass for our family in our neighborhood. He also married me and lovely my bride Concetta . We will be celebrating 12 years this May 2. May God have mercy on his soul and may any purgatory he incur be a quick one.

Dwight Mendoza

April 24, 2021

Fr. Bernard was a priest, confessor, teacher and friend to me. We had many dinners together and many long talks. People loved Father; he was a gentle and loving teacher of the Faith. He always emphasized the importance of Holy Communion; many people would stop into Our Lady of Sorrows daily to receive Holy Communion. I will always remember Father's wacky sense of humor; we shared many laughs. Father was a great counselor; he helped me with my sons in a very loving way. He taught me much about the Faith; he was a man who embodied not only the letter of the Law, but truly the loving Spirit of Christ. I will miss him.

Brother Stephen Sheehy

April 23, 2021

Many memories, difficult to say good-bye and sum up 47 years of life and experiences: Cape Cod, Vt./NH, Boston area, Tx, Ct with Father Bernard.
One dominant memory is the conversions and reversions. Father's great gift especially when he was younger, focused and his mind more sharp.
Clearly recall on Cape Cod with Dale, a Brilliant Scientist at the Oceanographic Inst., Woods Hole, Ma. Sitting for hours + days outside in hot summer sun: lemonade, the then Brother Bernard 41 years old fielded and responded to aggressive questions and arguments. Real presence, Mary, Sacraments, Virgin Birth, the usual ones and others. Convinced: resulting in Dale, his wife Jan and children becoming fervent Catholic converts.
In those years we called ourselves the Brothers of Christian Truth. Witnessing to non + lapsed Catholics, ministers, + jehovahs witnesses Father with clearer mind than in recent years and his humorous personality drew several to Our Merciful, Gracious, Loving Lord and His Church.
This relates well to Mindy and the Bonazzoli Family Testimonies, so pleasing to observe.
May Dennis and Father embrace in the presence of Our Lord in Heaven! Thank You Brother Stephen

Kathryn Hoey

April 22, 2021

Put simply, as a doctor is to my physical well being, so Fr. Bernard was for my soul. What a privilege Our Lord bestowed upon me when He arranged for us to meet. I shall miss him terribly. Like St. Teresa, I know you will "continue to do good from Heaven."

Jena Bonazzoli-Barretta

April 21, 2021

I will forever remember father Bernard as a friend and religious advocate to my father Dennis Bonazzoli. He helped my father handle and remain faithful in his most difficult days. Father Bernard gave his life to help others while asking for nothing in return....true sainthood.

May he rest in eternal peace.

Mindy Murphy

April 21, 2021

Father Bernard was and always will be a VERY special part of my family. He served my father during his most difficult time in life and for that I am forever grateful. In addition, he married my husband and I and served as the parish for our children’s baptisms. Father Bernard holds a very special place in my heart. I found him most refreshing and a true leader of faith. His genuine care and compassion for one and their relationship with Our Lord out shone his need for monetary contributions or solicitations. He never confused devotion with financial status. Unfortunately, this is not the case with most parishes today. He will be deeply missed. Much love, Mindy Murphy and Family