Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast presides over the entombment of the late Fr. Bob Bedard’s remains May 6 in Ottawa’s Hope Cemetery. Photo by Deborah Gyapong

A final commendation for Companions of the Cross founder Fr. Bedard

  • May 8, 2012

OTTAWA - Fr. Bob Bedard, founder of the Companions of the Cross, was entombed in Ottawa’s Hope Cemetery May 6 in a mausoleum one admirer expects 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 Bedard’s mausoleum. The entombment’s date, the first Friday in May, also marked the anniversary of the order’s founding 27 years ago.

“Fr. 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 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 priests, religious sisters and members of the wider community touched by Bedard’s ministry.

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.

Fr Bob BedardAfter founding the community in 1985, Bedard and fellow Companion priest Fr. 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 continued. “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...

“Fr. 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,” Prendergast said.

“Although we say our farewell to Fr. Bob’s 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 web site as “the completion of the first of many thousands of pilgrimages to the resting place of Fr. Bob, who we believe one day will be known as St. Bob Bedard.”

The Companions of the Cross has spread from Ottawa to Halifax, Toronto, Houston and Detroit. The community has 37 ordained priests and eight seminarians.

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