Jul 25, 2013 10:29 AM by MELISSA CANONE
This is a full obituary provided by the Diocese of Lake Charles and a statement by Bishop Provost at the bottom:
LAKE CHARLES - The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 31, for His Excellency, The Most Reverend Jude Speyrer, S.T.L., D.D., 84, the founding bishop of the Diocese of Lake Charles, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at the corner of Kirby and Bilbo streets. Bishop Glen John Provost will be the celebrant and priests of the Diocese will concelebrate. He will be interred in New Bethany Cemetery on the grounds of Saint Charles Center in Moss Bluff.
Public viewing will be from 2 to 8 p.m. beginning on Monday, July 29, with Evening Prayer at 6:30 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 30, with a Scripture Service at 6:30 p.m..
Bishop Speyrer died on Sunday, July 21, in Opelousas. He was consecrated and installed as the first bishop of Lake Charles on April 25, 1980. Pope John Paul II appointed him to lead the new diocese on January 29, 1980.
Bishop Speyrer is survived by a sister, Alice Louise Finley of Arnaudville, and a brother, Oscar Speyrer and his wife Faye of Opelousas, and a multitude of nieces and nephews.
The Bishop-emeritus served as the shepherd of the local church of Southwest Louisiana until Dec. 12, 2000, when Pope John Paul II accepted his request for retirement. He was named Administrator of the Diocese by the College of Consultors after his retirement, serving until Feb. 21, 2001, when his successor Bishop Edward K. Braxton was installed.
Bishop Speyrer was born on April 14, 1929 in Leonville, La. - one of 12 children of Emelie and Antoine Speyrer. He entered St. Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict, La. at the age of 13 and graduated in 1947 with an associate of arts degree. He then entered Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in May 1949. In Sept. 1949, he was sent to the Pontifical North American College in Rome for further studies, transferring to the University of Fribourg in Switzerland in 1950. He was ordained to the diaconate in 1953 and graduated from the University of Fribourg with a Licentiate in Sacred Theology in May 1953. Lafayette Auxiliary Bishop Maurice Schexnayder ordained him to the priesthood on July 25, 1953 in St. John Cathedral in Lafayette. He celebrated his first mass in his hometown church of St. Leo the Great in Leonville.
His first assignment was as assistant pastor of St. Landry Catholic Church in Opelousas. He was later assigned as assistant chaplain to Our Lady of Wisdom Chapel at the University of Southwestern Louisiana as well as associate editor of The Southwest Louisiana Register, the newspaper of the Diocese of Lafayette.
In 1964, he became pastor to Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Lake Arthur as well as administrator of the parish's St. Maria Goretti Catholic elementary and high school.
In 1969, he became the founding pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Lafayette and in 1974 named a Chaplain to His Holiness Pope Paul VI with the title Monsignor.
Beginning in 1974, he was named - in succession - Chancellor, Vicar General, Vicar for the Lafayette Deanery and Chairman of the Council of Vicars of the Diocese of Lafayette, working in Chancery positions until his elevation to the episcopacy in1980.
He was very active in the community helping to launch Abraham's Tent in 1986. He was on the Board of Directors for United Way of Southwest Louisiana for a number of years and served as chairman, vice chairman and treasurer, the latter on two occasions. He was also instrumental in raising awareness and funds for the construction of a chapel at the Phelps Correctional Center in DeQuincy.
There were many highlights during his 20 years as Bishop of Lake Charles. On Sept. 9, 1980 - the Feast of St. Peter Claver - he named St. Peter Claver as the patron of the fledgling diocese. He inaugurated the Sunday morning television program of the diocese - Glad Tidings - on Oct. 5, 1980 and he participated in the celebration of 100 years of Catholic education in Lake Charles on Aug. 1, 1982.
He established the publication of the Catholic Calendar, initially a single page published twice monthly in the Lake Charles American Press, on Oct. 15, 1982.
In 1983, Bishop Speyrer established the first new parish in the Diocese of Lake Charles at St. Charles Borromeo in Fenton and dedicated the first new chapel - St. Jude Chapel in Dry Creek.
On April 25, 1985, the offices of the Chancery were moved into new quarters at 414 Iris Street, the building being a gift from Calcasieu Council 1207 Knights of Columbus and Catholic Daughters of the Americas Court Lady of the Lake 695 of the Cathedral parish.
Bishop Speyrer initiated the publication of a monthly newspaper for the Diocese, The Southwest Catholic, in Nov. 1986. He dedicated the Stella Maris Seafarers Center at the Port of Lake Charles on Jan. 15, 1987.
In April 1988, the Bishop made the first of three ad limina visits to the Holy See to report to the Holy Father on the Diocese.
A project near and dear to his heart began on April 1, 1995 with the start of construction of Saint Charles Center, the diocesan spirituality/retreat center on Sam Houston Jones Parkway in Moss Bluff. Shortly after the establishment of the Diocese, Bishop Speyrer had called his priests together to discuss the most important needs for the new diocese. While many topics were discussed, the item that came up repeatedly was the need, at some time in the future, for a retreat center for the Diocese. After years of planning and fundraising, the project was begun.
In Jan. 1995, Bishop Speyrer welcomed to Lake Charles, The Most Reverend Agostino Cacciavillan, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States for the dedication of Saint Charles Center and its Tabor Retreat House and Katharine Drexel Conference Center.
Acting upon Pope John Paul II's 1994 apostolic letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente to the world's bishops, clergy, and lay faithful on preparation for the Jubilee of the Year 2000, Bishop Speyer initiated in Jan. 1997 a 36-month pilgrimage to each parish of the diocese. The monthly pilgrimage began at the youngest parish - St. Charles Borromeo in Fenton - and concluded at the oldest, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. On Dec. 31, 1999, a Night Watch ceremony was held at the Cathedral and four other parishes of the Diocese to usher in the new millennium.
A celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Diocese took place Jan. 28, 2000 at a reception in the Calcasieu Marine tower in downtown Lake Charles. The anniversary saw the publication of The Visible Church, a history of the church parishes of the Diocese.
During his two decades as head of the Diocese, Bishop Speyrer was singled out for numerous honors. In Aug. 1980, he was invested as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Fleur de Lis, in Oct. 1981 as a Knight Commander with Star of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and in 1994 as an Ecclesiastical Knight Commander of Grace in the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George.
Over the years, he was recognized by many organizations for his dutiful service, receiving the St. George Emblem from the National Committee on Scouting and named Clergyman of the Year by Msgr. Cramers Assembly Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, and Knight of the Year by District VI of the Knights and Ladies of Peter Claver. He also received the Ecumenical Service Award from the Lake Charles Chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, was named the diocesan Citizen of the Year by the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, and presented with the Silver Beaver Emblem by the Calcasieu Area Councils of Boy Scouts of America.
The National Council of the Knights of Peter Claver conferred upon him its National Gold Medal of Merit, he was named the Distinguished Citizen by the Calcasieu Area Council of Boy Scouts of America, awarded the diocese's St. Vincent de Paul Humanitarian Award, and presented the Gold Palm of Jerusalem from the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
The Pontifical Knights of the Diocese awarded him their inaugural Clergy Leadership Award, and the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus gave him a Medal of Commendation. The Louisiana District of the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus gave him the Pope John XXII Award for Ecumenism, and he received the Award of Honor by the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George for his spiritual and moral leadership. He received the inaugural H.E. Chevalier Truman H. Stacey Award for the Promotion of Ecumenism from the Imperial Calcasieu Cadre of the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem.
In 2008, he established The Bishop Jude Speyrer Fund in Honor of Monsignor Gouaux with the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana. Distributions from the Fund are to be used exclusively for tuition assistance for clergy of the Diocese of Lake Charles seeking further education. Contributions to the this fund or directly to the Diocese for a charity dear to Bishop Speyrer would be gratefully accepted in lieu of flowers.
Bishop Provost speaks on the death of Bishop Speyrer
"We are all saddened by the death of Bishop Speyrer who served our Lord Jesus so devoutly and fulfilled the office of apostle so diligently. He was a good and faithful servant. We also appreciate the legacy he left behind, the foundations he laid for the Diocese of Lake Charles, and the memories of his insight and wisdom. Finally, we take great consolation in the faith that we shared with Bishop Speyrer in the victory over death accomplished in Jesus Christ and the hope of eternal life that it promises. I recall my long acquaintanceship with Bishop Speyrer that began in Lafayette when I served as his altar server. I consider it a great privilege to have been under his tutelage. May he rest in lasting peace."
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