Deacon Albert P. Bergeron, retired deacon at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, Brighton, died Sunday, Sept. 17, 2006, at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. He was 84.
Ordained by Bishop Matthew Clark in 1986, Deacon Bergeron graduated in 1987 from St. Bernard’s Institute in Rochester with a master of arts in theology. He was assigned to Our Lady Queen of Peace in 1988 and served there for 11 years. Following retirement from that position, he helped out at Holy Spirit Church as a homilist and in other ministries.
During World War II he was a teletype operator in the Army Signal Corps and studied French in the Army Specialized Training Program at Kenyon College. A 1946 graduate of Amherst College, Deacon Bergeron became a diplomatic courier in the American Foreign Service of the U.S. State Department. He resigned from the State Department in 1951 to attend the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and received a master of science degree in journalism in 1952.
He was a reporter and editor at the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle from 1952 to 1968, then joined Hutchins Advertising Co. as a public-relations account executive. Two years later he moved to the public-relations staff at the University of Rochester and retired from there in 1985.
Deacon Bergeron continued to use his journalistic training even after he retired from that profession and became a deacon, noted his wife, Catherine.
“He was a good homilist, and he was well-liked by everybody,” she said. “He was not long-winded. Being a newspaperman he was able to say an awful lot in 15 minutes. He usually started most of his homilies with a good story and got everyone’s attention immediately.”
Catherine and Deacon Bergeron were among the founders of the Cursillo Movement in the Rochester Diocese in the mid-1960s, and he served as vice chairman of its first secretariat. They also were leaders of a charismatic prayer group at Holy Spirit Church for several years.
At Our Lady Queen of Peace, Deacon Bergeron organized the Network of Prayer and was leader of a Marian prayer group founded after he and his wife returned from a trip to Medjugorje.
Among other activities, he had been president of a junior Legion of Mary praesidium at Rochester’s St. Augustine Church and president of a senior praesidium at Irondequoit’s Christ the King Church. For several years, he was a lector and minister of the Eucharist at St. Joseph’s Church, Penfield, where he also was a founding member of the adult folk group.
He and his wife were associates of the Rochester Sisters of Mercy, and Deacon Bergeron held memberships in the National Association of Catholic Chaplains and the Knights of Columbus.
No matter how busy he was, Deacon Bergeron would always find time to talk to anyone who was sick, lonely or going through a hard time, and by doing so he was able to make these people feel loved and important, said Deacon Brian McNulty, a member of Deacon Bergeron’s diaconate class.
“He really had a great laugh and a great sense of the humor of what was going on around him, and at the same time, a simple, profound faith in God,” Deacon McNulty said.
“He always tried to use his humor … but at the same time, he obviously took his work very seriously,” noted Father Joseph Hart, diocesan vicar general and co-administrator of Our Lady Queen of Peace.
Deacon Bergeron was good at involving parishioners — particularly the homebound — in such ministries as the parish’s prayer network, and parishioners thought very highly of him, Father Hart said.
Along with his wife, Deacon Bergeron is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Anne and Dave Covert; a son, James; a sister, Jeanne B. Clevenger; a cousin, Mary Jane (Joe) Katra; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Mary E. and Frank Ferris and Leona and Thomas Hickey; and many nieces and nephews.
Deacon Bergeron’s funeral liturgy was celebrated Sept. 21, 2006, at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church. Memorial contributions may be made to the Sisters of Mercy Ministries, 1867 Blossom Road, Rochester NY 14625, or to the Covenant House, 460 W. 41st St., New York, NY 10036.