Rev. Msgr. Leo A. "Father Leo" Leclerc, 75, vicar general of the Diocese of Springfield, MA and former Pittsfield pastor, died Sunday, May 23, 2010 while surrounded by his family.
He was born in Berlin, NH on February 11, 1935, a son of Alvine (Poulin) Leclerc Maynard of Mont Marie in Holyoke and the late Ronaldo T. Leclerc, who died on August 14, 1961.
He was the oldest of six children and moved to the Chicopee Falls section of Chicopee in 1943, where he attended St. George School. He attended Seminaire de Saint Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada from 1949-1955, Seminary of Philosophy, Montreal, Canada from 1955-1957, and completed his studies at Grand Seminary, Montreal, Canada in 1961. He was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Springfield by the Most Rev. Christopher J. Weldon, Bishop of Springfield, on May 27, 1961. His first assignment was at Notre Dame Parish in Pittsfield from 1961-1965. This was followed by his being named parochial vicar at St. George Parish in Chicopee Falls until 1969, and then to St. John the Baptist Parish in Ludlow until 1970. In 1970, he was appointed chaplain and a member of the faculty of Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, where he served until 1975. He then was appointed chaplain at the Newman Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He was later named diocesan director of the Newman Center in 1976, a position he held until 1978. In that same year, he was appointed director of the permanent diaconate program, a position he continued to hold until 1990. He also was appointed in 1978 as director of pastoral development, until he accepted his first pastorate at Notre Dame Parish in Pittsfield. In 1989, he began his final parish assignment as pastor of St. Rose de Lima Parish in the Aldenville section of Chicopee, from which he retired in 2005. In December of 1996, he was named "prelate of honor" to Pope John Paul II, thus gaining the title "Monsignor." He was installed in this position on March 5, 1997. He also served on the Bishop's Commission for Clergy, Diocesan Senate, Presbyteral Council, Ministry to Priests, as director of the Annual Catholic Stewardship Appeal, and as moderator of curia, diocesan consultor and vicar general. He also served as chaplain to the Daughters of Isabella and chaplain of the Knights of Columbus Elder Council 69 in Chicopee.
Besides his mother, Msgr. Leo leaves his sister and brothers, Jeannette M. Marceau and her husband, John, of Chicopee, Joseph F. Leclerc and his wife, Lorraine, of Ludlow, Paul Laury Leclerc and his wife, Laurie Anne, of Chicopee, and Ronald M. Leclerc and his wife, Janice, of Baton Rouge, LA; his two paternal aunts, two maternal aunts, and three maternal uncles; his thirteen nieces and nephews, and several grand-nieces and grand-nephews. Besides his father, he was also predeceased by his sister, Theresa M. Rivest, who died November 26, 1982.
Msgr. Leclerc will lie in state at St. Rose de Lima Church, 600 Grattan Street, Chicopee, MA, on Friday, May 28, 2010 beginning at 1:00 p.m., with a vigil Prayer Service at 7:00 p.m. A Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by the Most Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell, Bishop of Springfield, on Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 10:000 a.m. in St. Rose de Lima Church in Chicopee, with burial to follow in St. Rose Cemetery, 49 Olsen Street, Chicopee.
For Berkshire parishioners, a Month's Mind Mass will be celebrated on Sunday, June 27, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Anne's Church in Lenox, followed by a gathering in the parish center.
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on May 27, 2010.
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