Bishop Jean Paul Hilaire Courvezy

Bishop Jean Paul Hilaire Courvezy

Bishop Jean Paul Hilaire Courvezy

Bishop Courvezy was born in Narbonne, France, on 14 January 1792. He served the Diocese of Carcassone, before heading to Chartres in 1825. He then became honorary canon and professor of Dogmatic Theology at the Major Seminary. In 1829, he was elevated to titular canon. On 11 February 1832, he joined the Paris Foreign Missions and within a month departed for the MEP mission in Siam.

Courvezy spent much of his Asian sojourn in Singapore, where he started the building of a chapel which was completed in 1833. This was the precursor to the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. In the same year, he travelled to Bangkok where was ordained as Bishop of Bida (located in present-day Algeria) and Coadjutor to Bishop Esprit Marie Joseph Florens.  He succeeded Bishop Florens after his death and spent much time at the start of his term travelling around the areas under his charge.

While he was based in Singapore, Bishop Courvezy played a major role in the building of the first Catholic church in Singapore. He was instrumental in raising the necessary funds from various donors and benefactors for the undertaking, including appealing to the Queen of France and the Archbishop of Manila. On 18 June 1843, Bishop Courvezy blessed the foundation stone of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd.

Bishop Courvezy returned to France not long after the laying of the foundation stone. On 7 September 1844, Rome accepted his resignation. He retired in Narbonne, France, which is also where he passed away on 1 May 1857.