Raymond W. Lessard, American Roman Catholic prelate, Died at 85


Raymond William Lessard was born on December 21, 1930, in Grafton, North Dakota,and died on January 5, 2016.

He was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church.

Raymond served as the bishop of the Diocese of Savannah, Georgia from 1973 to 1995.

He came from a large French-Canadian family and he was raised on a farm

One of his early ancestor, who had emigrated to Canada from Normandy, donated a piece of land for the construction of the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré.

He received his educated at St. Aloysius Academy and St. Paul Seminary in Minnesota,

Raymond was ordained to the priesthood on December 16, 1956, for the Diocese of Fargo.

Later, he worked at the Vatican both during and after the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) as an official of the Consistorial Congregation.

He was appointed the 12th Bishop of Savannah by Pope Paul VI, on March 5, 1973.

Raymond received his episcopal consecration on the following April 27 from Archbishop Thomas Donnellan, with Bishops Justin Driscoll and Francis Gossman serving as co-consecrators.

Raymond has served once as a liaison between Catholic bishops and married Episcopalian clergy seeking Catholic ordination.

Lessard has been described racism as “the paramount social problem affecting our area”.

He was known to have a chronic back issue which led Mr. Lessard resign as Bishop on February 7, 1995, after twenty-one years of service.

Lessard then became a professor at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida, where he taught ecclesiology.

During his time at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Lessard has chaired the Committee for Pastoral Research and Practices.

Raymond W. Lessard passed away at 85 yrs old.