Father Bob Bedard entombed in Ottawa's Hope Cemetary
By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News
The founder of the priestly community Companions of the Cross (CC), Father Bob Bedard, was entombed in Ottawa’s Hope Cemetery May 6 in a mausoleum some expect will become a pilgrimage site.
As the sun was setting, about 200 people, gathered on the grass as Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast celebrated the Eucharist, on the altar of Father Bedard’s mausoleum. The entombment’s date, the first Friday in May, also marked the anniversary of the CC’s founding 27 years ago.
“Father Bob let the Holy Spirit energize his faith, and he was then able to proclaim the joy of our Risen Lord Jesus, as the apostles did in today’s first reading,” said Archbishop Prendergast in his homily. “A breath of renewal became present in his life and ministry.”
“Many of you came to know this through his personal influence on you by his preaching, prayer ministry, teaching, personal counselling, television shows, and in the inner life of the community he founded, the Companions of the Cross,” he said to the many CC priests, religious sisters and members of the wider community touched by Father Bedard’s ministry.
Father Bedard, who died Oct. 6, was a leader in the charismatic renewal of the 1970s and 80s. As a priest, he taught at a new Catholic high school before his 1975 encounter with the renewal movement that brought a life-changing encounter with the Holy Spirit.
After founding the community in 1985, Father Bedard and fellow CC priest Father Roger Vandenakker launched the television program Food for Life in 1992 that continues to offer spiritual encouragement on Canadian television networks.
“Today, we come to a final commendation of his mortal remains to a beautiful mausoleum,” the archbishop said. “In a small way, this structure will keep his life present to our memory to help us cling to the ways of discipleship he shared with us.”
“Certainly, the inspiring writings and the vibrant community of priests he has left us will do that,” he said. “We become aware of this legacy: a fellowship devoted to Christ and his Church that is rooted in the Magisterium, is centred on the Eucharistic, rejoices in the charisms bestowed on us by the Holy Spirit, and lives under the sheltering protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, inspired by her ‘yes’ to God. This urges us on in the task of the new evangelization.”
“Father Bob had a powerful encounter with Christ, our Risen Lord. He was hopeful enough about the future to plant seeds in our hearts that would flourish decades later, as they do today,” he said. “Although we say our farewell to Father Bob’ physical presence at this solemn ceremony, I am confident that he continues to pursue his ministry as an intercessor. Let us resolve to commit, as he did, to the new evangelization, so needed in our day, wherever God would send us.”
Musician, songwriter and Catholic apologist David MacDonald described the event on his website as “the completion of the first of many thousands of pilgrimages to the resting place of Father Bob, who we believe one day will be known as Saint Bob Bedard.”
The CC has spread from Ottawa to Halifax, Toronto, Houston and Detroit. The community has 37 ordained priests and eight seminarians.