Former parish priest remembered fondly
It was 34 years on the 20th of this month that Father Clarence Roche died in his parish community of Kelly’s Cross. I was living off island at the time but was still in touch with him by mail.
To say Father Clarence Roche was just a parish priest or just a mentor of island youth seems to me now, far too limited a definition for a man as large and exceptional (in presence) as he was.
I knew Father Clarence when I was a teenager. I knew him with my intellect (which he respected) and I knew him with the fine tuned senses of a teenager intent on exposing the hypocrisy I believed was in him as surely as I believed it was in all the rule abiding grown ups of the day.
But there was nothing hypocritical about Father Clarence Roche.
He lived his life with honesty, passion and purpose. He had a sense of humour and a laugh that had me believe in something far greater than just that which I could see with my eyes or figure with my mind.
I had a letter, written, “stamped” and “ready to go”, (as we would have said 34 years ago) when I learned that he had been, tragically, killed on my birthday. The shock continues to reverberate through me. Long may his contributions to the youth of Charlottetown be remembered and honoured.
Carole Walker Trainor
Halifax, Nova Scotia