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March 18. 2013 10:21PM

Four Manchester priests promoted to monsignor

MANCHESTER - Four Manchester diocesan priests have been promoted to monsignor, and two monsignors have had their entry-level status elevated, some of the last actions of former Pope Benedict, the Diocese of Manchester announced Monday.

Benedict, who is now pope-emeritus, elevated the six on Feb. 14, three days after he announced his retirement to a stunned world. Benedict elevated the six upon the request of Manchester Bishop Peter Libasci, the Diocese announced Monday.

Three of the six are officially retired priests who nonetheless continue to serve.

The title of monsignor is an honorific bestowed by the Pope upon recommendation from a bishop, said Patrick McGee, spokesman for the diocese. During the tenure of John McCormack, the bishop only elevated one to monsignor status.

The church has three levels for monsignor. Two of the monsignors named Monday already had the title monsignor but with the bottom of three ranks, chaplain to his Holiness. They were elevated to the middle rank, prelate of honor.

They are:

--The Rev. Msgr. Charles Edward Crosby, 81, a retired priest who serves as rector of St. Patrick Mission Church at Hampton Beach during the summer.

--The Rev. Msgr. Donald Joseph Gilbert, 71. A retired priest, he holds a licentiate in canon law and is the judicial vicar of the diocese. He serves as a supply priest every weekend in needed parishes.

The other four were elevated from priest to prelate of honor. They are:

--The Rev. Msgr. Daniel Oscar Lamothe, 76, the pastor of Parish of the Holy Spirit in Keene and Mary, Queen of Peace in Hinsdale. He is the dean of the Monadnock Deanery.

--The Rev. Msgr. Charles Edward DesRuisseaux, 78, a retired priest who says Mass when called on to assist in parishes. He also says mass for Sisters of the Presentation of Mary and is the diocesan coordinator for retired priests, diocesan ecumenical and interreligious officer and secretary of the Presbyteral Council.

--The Rev. Msgr. Eddy Normand Bisson, 72, a senior priest, which means he serves in multiple parishes as a temporary administrator. He is also chaplain at St. Francis Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and Bishop Bradley Senior Living Community in Laconia.

--The Rev. Msgr. Gerald Robert Belanger, 63, the pastor of Divine Mercy Parish in Peterborough.

Each will receive a diploma from the Vatican Secretariat of State designating the new title and rank and recognizing the monsignor's service to the Church, the Diocese said.

A special installation ceremony with Vespers will be held on 6 p.m. May 1 at St. Joseph Cathedral.


hayward@unionleader.com

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