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Rev. Kenneth A. Bienvenu

Deceased: 2020-06-18


ICTE Fall: 1991

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 18, 2020, at St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church in St. Martinville for the Rev. Fr. Kenneth Bienvenu, Chaplain Colonel USAF Ret., 87, who passed away on Friday, June 12, 2020, peacefully at his home.

The family requests that visiting hours be observed at St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church from 7 a.m. until 10:45 a.m. on Thursday. A rosary will be prayed by the Rev. Ed Degeyter at 8 a.m. on Thursday.

The Most Rev. Douglas Deshotel, Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette, La., and the Rev. Monsignor Jeff DeBlanc will officiate at the Funeral Mass. Readers will be Gracie Latiolais and Stephanie Latiolais. The Rev. Darren Eldridge will read the Gospel. Gift bearers will be Fr. Kenneth’s caregivers, Helen Anthony, Tilly Duplechien, Stephanie Latiolais, Laura Antoine, Gracie Latiolais, Willis Jacobs and Russell Sonnier. Parting words will be given by the Rev. Jason Mouton. Altar server will be his great-great-nephew, Alec Latiolais. Music will be provided by Pat Melancon and Stephanie James. Burial will follow on the grounds of St. Martin de Tours Roman Catholic Church in St. Martinville, La.

Fr. Kenneth A. Bienvenu was born on Sept. 3, 1932, in St. Martinville to Maurice Emmanuel Bienvenu Sr. and Alice Stephanie Labbe Bienvenu.  He is survived by his six nephews, Paul “Bully” Resweber (Anna Mae), Don “Tuffy” Resweber (Becky), Stephen “Scooter” Resweber (Karen), John Bienvenu, Paul Bienvenu (Donna) and Dr. Louis Bienvenu (Debra); three nieces, Alice Rose Bienvenu (Larry Metz), Mary Jude Resweber Sonnier (Russell) and Judie Resweber Goodrich (Ronny). He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Maureen Bienvenu Resweber; brothers, Maurice E. Bienvenu Jr. and Labbe Bienvenu; brother-in-law, Harold Resweber Sr.; sister-in-law, Rosalie Hamic Bienvenu; and his nephew, Harold “Butch” Resweber Jr.Fr. Bienvenu attended Convent of Mercy Elementary School, graduated from St. Peter College (Catholic High N.I.) in 1951. He obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Southwestern Louisiana. In September of 1953, he entered Immaculate Seminary in Lafayette, La. In September 1954, he entered Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, La., where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History.

He was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest on June 4, 1960, in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Lafayette, La., by Bishop Maurice Schexnayder. Fr. Bienvenu was assigned as Assistant Pastor to Sacred Heart Church in Ville Platte, La. In 1966, he was assigned to Immaculate Conception Church in Lake Charles, La. In 1969, Bishop Maurice Schexnayder gave Fr. Bienvenu permission to join The United States Air Force as a Catholic Chaplain. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel below the zone, ahead of his contemporaries at fourteen years of service.

Chaplain Bienvenu assignments in the military were; Minot AFB: Minot, ND; Da Nang AFB: Vietnam; Cannon AFB: Clovis, NM; Shu Lin Kho AFB: Taipei, Taiwan; England AFB: Alexandria La.; Misawa AFB: Japan; Sheppard AFB: Wichita Falls, TX; Tempelhof AFB: Berlin, Germany; HQSAT Offutt AFB: Omaha, NE on the Inspector General’s Team; Ramstein AFB: Germany; Nellis AFB: Las Vegas, NV; Ramstein AFB: Germany (2nd Time); Travis AFB: outside San Francisco, CA.
Listed below are the medals and ribbons he was awarded in order of honor: The Bronze Star; Six Meritorious Service Medals; Two Commendation Medals; Four Organizational Excellence Ribbons; WWI Occupation Medal (Berlin); Six National Defense Medals (Vietnam Battles); Three Vietnam Campaign Medals; Humanitarian Service Medal (Vietnam War); Two Air Force Overseas Short Tour Ribbons; Four Air Force Overseas Long Tour Ribbons; Four AF Longevity Service Award Ribbons; Air Force Reserve Ribbon; Air Force Training Ribbon. The following from the Vietnamese Government: First Armed Forces Honor Medal Vietnam; Vietnam Civic Action Medal; Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm (2); Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Chaplain Bienvenu was honorably retired in August 1990 and returned to priestly service in the Diocese of Lafayette. In September, he enrolled in the Continuing Education Course in Theological Renewal and Updating at North American College outside of the Vatican in Rome, Italy for three months. On Jan. 1, 1991, Bishop Flynn assigned Fr. Bienvenu to St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church as Associate Pastor in St. Martinville, La. After retirement, he continued under contract (exclusively) to assist the pastor by celebrating Mass on the weekends, hearing confessions, administering other Sacraments, substituting for the pastor while on vacation, celebrating Mass during the week as needed and being on call. He continued in that capacity until he passed away.

He will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.