Msgr. John "Jack" Charlebois
The Monsignor John Charlebois, who served until 1998 as pastor of St. Paul Catholic Church in Valparaiso, IN, died at the age of 83.During his 32-year tenure at the parish, Charlebois saw the growth of the church school, the development of the Harrison Boulevard church campus, the building of St. Agnes Adult Day Care Center and the establishment of Tiny Tot Center for preschool children.He saw both ends of the rainbow," said his brother, Monsignor Robert Charlebois, 78, of Chicago, of "Monsignor Jack's" dedication to both the very young and the very old in the community.Monsignor Robert Charlebois recalled his older brother as a youth. "He was meticulous to detail -- a perfectionist," he said.Those were qualities he brought to his work as the first chancellor of the Diocese of Gary, a position he held for 17 years and to his parish work at St. Mary Catholic Church in East Chicago, St. Mary Catholic Church in Michigan City and Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Gary. He also was instrumental in the founding of Nativity of Our Savior Parish in Portage and St. Teresa Avila Catholic Student Center (formerly Thunderhouse Newman Center) which serves the Valparaiso University Catholic community, according to his brother. He was also a caring pastor. "He's done so much for so many, many people,"said parishioner and friend Jean Ernst of Valparaiso.I have heard things I can't believe," said Monsignor Robert Charlebois of his brother's legacy. "A man called me from Switzerland to tell me Monsignor Jack literally saved his life when no one else could reach him.He also credits his brother with nurturing five young men from the Valparaiso parish who had vocations -- two to be Trappist monks and three to the priesthood. Monsignor Robert Charlebois praised the hospice work of the Visiting Nurses Association in Valparaiso, who helped care for his brother until he died. "They were absolutely incredible. He described his brother's death as a "miracle of kindness.Although his brother died of cancer of the liver, he did not suffer pain, he said. On the 50th anniversary of his ordination, Monsignor John Charlebois recalled how unsure he was at first with his calling.He said then "More and more, I became convinced that each one of us is called to live the mystery of our life. We waste our Christian faith if we try to solve that mystery, where in reality God is with us each day to live the mystery.Monsignor John Charlebois was born in Sault St. Marie, Ontario, Canada Aug. 20, 1926.He was baptized by Father Facutte in the Church of the Blessed Sacrament there Sept. 9, 1926.He was ordained May 1, 1954, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Whiting.He is survived also by his brother Thomas E. Charlebois of Hobart, Noreen Charlebois of Valparaiso and Jeanne Marie Rodriquez of Colorado. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Opportunity Enterprises, P.O. Box 1206, Valparaiso, Ind. 46384Published in the Post-Tribune on 9/24/2009"