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Obituary for Father Clement Thibodeau

Father Clement Thibodeau

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Reverend Clement David Thibodeau, 85, a priest of the Diocese of Portland.  The body of Fr. Thibodeau, who became missing on July 15, 2017, was recovered on Saturday, September 30, 2017.  We are grateful to all who prayed for Fr. Thibodeau as well as for his family and friends; we are also grateful for those who searched for him.

Clement was born on February 17, 1932, in Connor, Maine, the son of Paul and Caroline (Roy, a/k/a Carrie King) Thibodeau.  After graduating from St. Francis College in Biddeford, Clement studied theology at Le Grand Seminaire de Saint-Sulpice, Montréal, Quebec Province, Canada. Upon completion of his clerical studies, he was ordained to the priesthood by the Most Reverend Daniel J. Feeney, Seventh Bishop of Portland, on May 31, 1958, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Portland.

Fr. Thibodeau’s years in full-time ministry included the following parish and pastoral assignments:

  • Cathedral Parish, Portland – Assistant/Parochial Vicar (summer 1958)
  • Notre Dame Parish, Springvale – Assistant/Parochial Vicar (1958-66), including Nasson College - Chaplain
  • Notre Dame Institute, Alfred – Chaplain (1966-70) and St. Ignatius High School, Sanford – Instructor (1966-1970)
    ♦  Added St. Louis High School, Biddeford – Spiritual Director (1969-70)
  • Institute for Continuing Theological Education, Rome (September-December 1970)
  • St. Mary’s Parish, Lewiston – Assistant/Parochial Vicar, plus Bates College, Lewiston & Nasson College, Springvale – Newman Chaplain (January-June 1971)
  • St. Agatha Parish, St. Agatha – Temporary Administrator (1971-75)
  • St. Mary’s Parish, Eagle Lake – Pastor (1975-1981)
    ♦ Added St. Joseph Parish, Wallagrass – Temporary Administrator (1977-79)
  • Notre Dame Parish, Waterville – Pastor (1981-87)
  • St. Mary Parish, Bangor – Pastor (1987-94)
  • St. Joseph Parish, Gardiner – Pastor (1994-2001)

In addition, Fr. Clem served the Diocese in the following capacities:

  • Squadron Chaplain, Civil Air Patrol, Sanford-Springvale (1959f)
  • Continuing Education of Clergy (1976-78; 1978-81; 1982-1985), including the Committee for Priests’ Sabbaticals (1984-87)
  • Ecumenical Relations
    ♦  Consultor on Protestant-Catholic Relations (1979-82)
    ♦  Maine Council of Churches, Delegate to the Annual Assembly (1983 & 1984)
  • Board of Directors, Seton Village (1981f)
  • Vicar Forane (Dean):  Northern Aroostook County (1979-82); Southern Kennebec-Knox County (1995-99); Southern Kennebec County (1999-2001)
  • Knights of Columbus
    ♦  Rev. John J. McGinnis Assembly #2231, Sanford-Springvale (1964f)
    ♦  Council #148, Chaplain (1981f)
    ♦  Canabas Council #1299, Gardiner (1994f)
  • Major Consultative Bodies
    ♦  Diocesan Pastoral Council, Coordinator (1971f)
    ♦  Council of Priests/Presbyteral Council (1987-92; 1994-99; 1999-2002)
    ♦  College of Consultors (1994-99; 1999-2002)

Fr. Thibodeau retired from full-time ministry on June 30, 2001. After having served in central Maine for nearly 20 years, he return to the County, from where he continued to minister to the people of God as a temporary administrator and supply priest; his ministry even extended into New Brunswick, Canada.  On the occasion of his retirement, then-bishop, Most Rev. Joseph Gerry, OSB, wrote:

“Although your primary focus as a priest had to be your parish assignment, you were always willing to put your considerable gifts of intelligence and wisdom to the service of the wider Church community…A hard worker, a committed priest, one who has kept updated theologically, one who has been open to offering spiritual direction, and one who has been most generous in responding to requests from your Bishop, are just some of the qualities that have marked your years of ministry as a priest.”

Fr. Thibodeau is also well known throughout the diocese for his love of the Word of God, reflected in his gifts of preaching and teaching.  In particular, his resource “Echoing God’s Word” continues to be used by faith-sharing groups throughout the diocese.

May Fr. Clem’s soul, and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen.