A fraternal bishop for the Mende diocese

Benedict Bertrand, who was vicar general of the diocese of Nantes, was appointed bishop of Mende by Pope Francis on 17 January.

It is a "Complete change of environment" that Benoît Bertrand is getting ready to live. The new Bishop of Mende confesses, he does not know "Not at all" his future diocese, despite a march in the Causses and the Gorges du Tarn thirty years ago, during a goum (1). "Diocesan priest associated with a country"Bishop Bertrand, who was Vicar General of the Diocese of Nantes until 17 January, said he was ready for it "To kiss the land of Lozere with all his heart", where he will settle in mid-February, and "Building bonds of friendship and brotherhood". At the age of 58, born in Nantes, a pharmacist hospital, spent most of his life: he only left for his four-year internship in Paris, and that of his seminary in Rome.

Bishop Bertrand entered the seminary in 1983 and is still characterized by the medical community, which he briefly visited before he made the choice for consecrated life. "If you are 23 years old, in a department of oncology, you have to ask yourself a lot of questions about death, suffering …"he explains. He said he was "Formed by his seminary trainers, the parishes that (L)have hosted and accompanying individuals and groups ".

Chaplain of the students in Nantes after his ordination in 1991, this man "Attached to prayer and personal prayer" became professor at the interdiocesan seminar Saint-Jean in Angers and then in Nantes when the two cycles were grouped there. In 2004 he took charge of the seminar and six years later he was appointed Vicar General of Nantes, where he posted Bishop Jean-Paul James. "By being a close associate, I learned the life and ministry of a bishop"he says, referring to one "Regret"that of never being a priest.

He's getting ready now, "With a lot of fun", to discover the less populated department of France, the mountainous Lozère, passing from a diocese with 70 parishes to that of Mende who count five. Episcopal Benedict Bertrand's episcopal ordination takes place on Sunday, March 3 at the Notre-Dame-en-Saint-Privat Cathedral in Mende at 3 pm.

Clémence Houaille