Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
February 8, 2010
Devout Oblate served others
Fr. Jean Marsan, chancellor of Grouard-McLennan for 53 years, died at age 93
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
ST. ALBERT - Despite holding four or five jobs simultaneously, Oblate Father Jean Marsan was a devout man who found time for serving others.
"He was always ready to serve. I remember very clearly that if you went to his office, he was never busy, and he had nothing to do. He could listen to you for half an hour," Father René Belanger said of his friend.
Marsan, chancellor of the Grouard-McLennan Archdiocese for 53 years, died Jan. 26 at the age of 93.
"Sometimes you know people who are always busy. Well, he was never busy. He accomplished a lot of work without ever seeming busy," said Belanger, who knew Marsan since the early 1940s.
A MAN OF FAITH
"He was so well organized and such a devoted religious man. He was devoted to his work, to the mission of the Church and to the people he served. He was also a man of great faith."
Marsan was born March 11, 1916 in Montreal. He joined the Oblates in 1933, made his first vows the following year and made his final vows as an Oblate in 1937. He was ordained June 23, 1940.
His first assignment was in the Grouard-McLennan Archdiocese. The bishop at the time was his cousin, a fellow Oblate, Ubald Langlois.
"Bishop Langlois had asked the superior general of the Oblates to send Father Marsan to the Grouard Archdiocese because he wanted to have a chancellor," said Belanger.
After a year in the archdiocese, Marsan studied for two years in Ottawa, attaining a degree in canon law. He returned to Grouard-McLennan, and served as the diocese's chancellor for more than 50 years - from 1942 to 1995.
"Apart from being a chancellor, he worked at the chancery office as a librarian. He was a librarian for all those years, about 50 years.
"He was also vicar general for a while under Archbishop Henri Légaré. He was provincial superior for the Oblates for nine years and during that time he continued as the chancellor for the diocese, and always had four or five other jobs at the same time," said Belanger.
As well, Marsan served as provincial treasurer for the Oblates. Never in parish ministry, he was assigned to missions from time to time as a temporary replacement, finding his niche in administration.
"He brought steadiness. He was under three bishops, so he kind of served as the link as a new bishop came in because he was aware of everything about the archdiocese and he knew everything about the archive, the library and so forth."
Marsan was always punctual, reliable. If a meeting were set for 7 p.m., he was never late and always showed up five minutes beforehand.
Belanger used the word "discretion" to describe his friend.
"He was an authority but you could tell him a secret and you knew it would remain there." said Belanger.
"The man was highly organized. I remember going to the chancery, and at that time he had three offices in the bishop's residence. If you wanted to talk finance, he'd go to one office. If you wanted to talk canon law, he'd take you to another one."
Marsan's funeral was held Jan. 28 at St. Albert Church.
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