Didier Berthet was born on 11 June 1962 and departed this world on 8 September 2023. An eminent French Roman Catholic prelate, he dedicated a significant portion of his life to serving the church and held the esteemed position of bishop of Saint-Dié from June 2016 till his untimely demise.
Conversion and Training
Born in Boulogne-Billancourt, Hauts-de-Seine, Berthet’s spiritual journey is a testament to the idea that faith can evolve over time. With a Roman Catholic father and a Calvinist Protestant mother, he was initially baptized in the Reformed Church of France and underwent a Calvinist education. His teen years were spent at the Saint Jean Hulst Catholic College in Versailles between 1975 to 1980.
Despite aspiring to become a pastor upon completing high school, Berthet’s spiritual perceptions began to shift. This shift solidified in 1980 when he experienced a transformative event: a meeting with young followers during Pope John Paul II‘s visit to France. This encounter made him appreciate the depth of the Catholic Church’s legacy and its apostolic nature. By 1983, while a student at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris, Berthet embraced Catholicism. His theological studies subsequently took him to the French seminary of Rome and the Gregorian University of Rome between 1987 and 1993, culminating in a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology and Canon Law.
Roman Catholic Diocese of Nanterre
Berthet’s journey as a priest began with his ordination on 27 June 1992 for the Diocese of Nanterre. He offered his services in various cities such as Rueil-Malmaison, Antony, Nanterre, and Issy-les-Moulineaux. His roles ranged from curate of parishes like Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul to being responsible for chaplaincies and eventually rising to chancellor of the Diocese of Nanterre. Additionally, he played a pivotal role in the Seminary Saint-Sulpice in Issy-les-Moulineaux, first as a member of the animator team and later as its superior.
Bishop of Saint-Dié
The year 2016 marked a significant milestone in Berthet’s career. On 15 June, Pope Francis appointed him the bishop of Saint-Dié. His episcopal consecration took place on 4 September 2016, overseen by esteemed figures like Archbishop Jean-Luc Bouilleret of Besancon and Bishop Michel Aupetit of Nanterre. Berthet’s dedication also extended to ecumenical dialogues with the Eastern Orthodox Churches.
Tragically, Didier Berthet passed away on 8 September 2023. He was 61 years old. His life remains a poignant reminder of spiritual evolution and dedicated service to the Church.