Funeral of Robert Vinet, pmé (1928-2019)
Father Robert Vinet, priest of Foreign Mission, died in Laval, on December 11, 2019, at the age of 91 years and 2 months. Born in Valleyfield on September 9, 1928, he was the son of Aldéric Vinet and Blanche Poirier. He did his secondary studies at the Séminaire de Valleyfield and his theological studies at the Major Seminary of Foreign Mission of Pont-Viau. Ordained a priest on June 28, 1953, he left on October 5, 1957 for Peru, where he worked as a missionary until 1993.
In Canada, he worked in the training of future missionaries at the Major Seminary of Pont-Viau (1962-68), in the Well-being Service (1995-2010) and he did ministry in the Montreal region (1993- 2002). He was also a member of the Central Council and responsible for Missionary Animation (1979-85). At the time of his death, he was living in retirement at the Central House in Pont-Viau.
He leaves to mourn, in addition to his fellow missionaries, his brother Claude (Judy Wade) and his sister Lucie, as well as nephews, nieces and many other relatives and friends.
A prayer time took place at the Central House of the Foreign Mission Society, last Thursday December 19, 2019. His funeral was celebrated in the same place on Friday December 20. The deposit of his urn in the columbarium will take place later. In his memory, donations to the Société des Missions-Étrangères would be greatly appreciated.
FUNERAL OF ROBERT VINET, P.M.É.
Homily by Bishop Jean-Louis Martin, p.m.é.
Laval, Friday, December 20, 2019
1 Cor 9, 24-27
Luke 14, 25-28
Parents and friends of Robert, good afternoon.
Robert has left this life. He has already preceded us into eternal life. Let us listen to what he tells us, let us listen to what God tells us.
1) There is something a bit foolish in that page of the Gospel that we have listen to. Jesus is telling us that to be his disciple, one has to prefer him above all and everything, even our dearest ones in this world.
Elsewhere, Jesus strongly insists that we love the neighbor as ourselves. And we know that Robert has loved his family very much and all the persons whom he met with.
By asking us to « prefer God » to all and everyone, Jesus means that there are moments in life where the love of God is fundamental, where he comes to elevate our other human loves so as to go to the very end in the answer to God.
And when Jesus asks to prefer him to all and everyone, he makes an important promise: « Everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or land for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life » (Matt. 19:29). – Jesus promises eternal life to all the persons who, in his name, accept to make affective and material detachments.
It is that choice that Robert has made in his life, as a Christian and as missionary priest. It is that « foolish mystical adventure » (Quesson, «Les entretiens du dimanche, year C, 1991, pp. 186-190) that he followed in our modern world, often against the tide. Robert has felt and lived the challenges and the crises that took place, since 60 years, in the world and also in the Church. With the grace of God, with the help of his family and friends, he was able to slip through.
Reading his curriculum vitae, we can see the numerous tasks that he fulfilled in Peru and in Canada, with his dynamism and his enthusiasm. That is the external that we can see and that we can read on paper. But there is all the mystery of the interior and spiritual life of each person that at times, only God knows. It appears to me that this is the testimony that Robert leaves behind to us.
2) I would like to add a few words about a quite well known aspect of Robert, Robert the sportsman. – Robert was a great sportsman, especially in tennis. He trained rigorously to be in good shape, to make friends, to succeed well even if he did not win trophies. And he persevered in that area until he reached an advanced period in his life.
Still, he really felt that physical exercise and sports are not all there is. In our great sport events, there are usually a few medals. And merit is mostly given to performance and the results, more than the personal quality of the participants.
Also in the battle for God, we have to make disciplined and constant efforts towards an imperishable crown. There, there is not only one medal for those who are good on the outside. God sees us according to our talents, according, to our efforts and our heart, and he will pay us accordingly in return. Moreover, He has a special love for the humble, the little, the weak, the needy in life.
3) Robert, in the presence of your body, we make memory of the death and of the resurrection of Jesus that you have celebrated thousands of times during your life; we give thanks to God for that. You have hoped in the resurrection promised by Jesus. And now, since you have left this life, may Jesus welcome you in his love where we hope to meet again together one day. Amen.