Born at Petit de Grat, Cape Breton in 1943
Bishop of the Diocese of Charlottetown: 1991-2009
A graduate of St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Bishop Fougere studied theology at the Grand Seminary of Montreal and in 1969 he was ordained to the priesthood for service in the Diocese of Antigonish.
Father Fougere spent his first three years as curate at Mount Carmel Parish in New Waterford and the next three as pastor at Louisdale. From 1975 to 1982 he was a member of the Antigonish diocesan mission team in Honduras. Later he was pastor at Bras d’Or and at St. Augustine’s in Sydney. From 1988 he was Vicar General of the Diocese of Antigonish and director of pastoral services for that diocese.
Late in 1991 Father Fougere was named Bishop of Charlottetown and was consecrated in St. Dunstan’s Basilica on March 19, 1992. The following year the bishop established a pastoral planning process to determine long-range goals for the diocese. This involved numerous meetings across the Island and the appointment of a director. In 1995 the five-year diocesan fundraising campaign ended with some $6,000,000 collected. In 1996 the diocese inaugurated a three-year lay formation program, held on ten weekends a year. The following year a new class entered the process. When terminated in 2000, 45 lay people had completed these three-year sessions.
RENEW was a good diocesan effort entered into by most parishes. Begun in 1998, it was a three-year series of gatherings in homes during Advent and Lent with carefully chosen topics for reflection. JUBILEE 2000, initiated by Pope John Paul II, was actively participated in parishes and with special Masses in Summerside and Charlottetown. In 2004 our diocese marked its 175th anniversary, highlighted by a grand Mass at the basilica on August 11. That same year a two-year lay formation program for the diocese began. In 2008 the venerable basilica residence (palace) was sold to the S.D.U. Board of Governors. During the Bishop Fougere years there was a steady outreach to youth through Teen Encounter, World Youth Days and the hiring of a youth director. As well, a goodly number of books were published, covering various aspects of our diocesan history. Bishop Fougere retired in 2009 for health reasons.
Most Rev. J. Vernon Fougere, bishop emeritus of Charlottetown, died in June of 2013 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown. He was 70.