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2016 in the Diocese of Worcester

Posted By January 20, 2017 | 3:25 pm | Featured Article #4

By William T. Clew


On Jan. 3 Bishop McManus merged St. Anne and St. Denis parishes in Ashburnham to form a new St. Denis Parish, after St. Anne’s church building was demolished. The Town of Ashburnham had declared it unsafe in July 2015. Repairs were too costly for the few families there.
On Jan. 3 St. Joseph Basilica in Webster opened its Holy Door at a jubilee year service. Msgr. Anthony S. Czarnecki, pastor, read the decree from Bishop McManus naming the church one of eight pilgrimage churches in the diocese for the Year of Mercy. The other pilgrimage churches, which held Year of Mercy events at different points during the year, were St. Paul Cathedral, Worcester; Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Gardner; Our Lady of the Rosary, Spencer; Notre Dame, Southbridge; Sacred Heart of Jesus, Milford; St. Joseph, Fitchburg, and St. Luke the Evangelist, Westborough. Parishes that were not named pilgrimage sites also observed the Year of Mercy in various ways at different times. Laity from St. Joseph Parish, Charlton, led by Thomas Creamer, made door-to-door visits in town. They talked with people and distributed copies of The Catholic Free Press, the parish bulletin and information about mercy.
For the 25th year Bill Gibbons, coach of the women’s basketball team at the College of the Holy Cross, brought his players to the Mercy Centre, which provides training and employment programs for adults with intellectual difficulties. For the 25th year, the Lady Crusaders lost. Coach Gibbons said he brings his team, even though they seem to lose their considerable basketball skills at just the right times in those games, because “we try to teach our players to be women for others, and this helps us immensely.”
The annual financial report showed that the Worcester Diocese had an operational deficit of $1,192,704 for the 2015 fiscal year. The deficit included unrealized loses on investments of $840,000, which were “primarily a reflection of the state of the market when our year ended Aug. 31,” Bishop McManus said. Expenses for the year totaled $25,178,740.
jan-st-joe-rec1118oBishop McManus blessed St. Joseph’s Rectory in Worcester after it was renovated as a home for retired priests. It is also the residence for the pastor of Holy Family Parish, formed in 2008 from Notre Dame-St. Joseph and Holy Name parishes.
The Partners in Charity Appeal set a new goal formula that changed parish goals, raising some and  lowering others. The new formula put parish goals more in line with each parish’s financial situation, according to Michael P. Gillespie, diocesan director of Stewardship and Development.
Winter storms caused the cancellation of the Worcester Diocese’s annual trip, and the trips of some other local groups, to the Jan. 22 March for Life in Washington, D.C. Some other groups went. Bishop McManus celebrated Mass the previous night in St. Paul Cathedral.


Part of the facade of Our Lady of Mount Carmel-St. Ann Church in Worcester was removed because the City of Worcester believed it to be a safety hazard, according to Msgr. F. Stephen Pedone, pastor. The steeple was also stabilized. The city had asked the parish to make the front of the church safe. Msgr. Pedone said it was estimated that it would cost $1.3 million to fix the facade, steeple and choir loft and close to $2 million to fix the parish center, which has a leaky roof and structural issues. He said weekly offertory collections fell far short of meeting weekly expenses. He wrote in the parish bulletin that the parish might merge with Our Lady of Loreto Parish. He and a transition committee from both parishes discussed the proposed merger, but postponed the recommendation in response to an emotional meeting with parishioners at large. Some wanted to save the church and/or the center. But architects found that the base wall of the church’s facade, which helps support the roof, had pulled away from the building.

Missionaries of Mercy: Father C. Michael Broderick, Father Peter J. Joyce and Father Dinh Vo Tran

Missionaries of Mercy: Father C. Michael Broderick, Father Peter J. Joyce and Father Dinh Vo Tran

Three local priests were among more than 1,000 missionaries of mercy throughout the world who were mandated by Pope Francis to preach and be gentle confessors during the Year of Mercy. They are Father C. Michael Broderick, pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Rutland; Father Peter J. Joyce, pastor of St. John Paul II Parish, Southbridge, and Assumptionist Father Dinh Vo Tran, then director of St. Anne Shrine, Sturbridge. The three joined others with the pope in Rome.
Schools throughout the diocese celebrated Catholic Schools Week with a variety of activities.
St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury announced that Alex Zequeira, president of the Nativity School in Worcester, would succeed Michael W. Welch as headmaster. Mr. Welch announced his retirement after 15 years.
St. Andrew Bobola Parish in Dudley began serving a Fellowship Meal, open to anyone, in the church basement from 5 to 6 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. Parishioners and other volunteers planned, cooked and served the full-course dinners to 100 to 120 guests on average.
Bishop McManus met with people from around the diocese who were preparing to receive sacraments of initiation (baptism, first Communion and/or confirmation) during the coming Easter Vigil Mass. He said Jesus was telling them, “It is not you who is choosing me; it is I who am choosing you.” They were taking part in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. They represented 41 parishes and the College of the Holy Cross. Figures given were 136 who had not been baptized, 115 baptized in denominations other than Catholic and 76 baptized Catholics seeking to complete their initiation.
Father Richard T. Carey, 76, retired pastor of St. Joseph Parish, North Brookfield, died Feb. 22. Ordained in 1965, he had also been pastor of Prince of Peace Parish, Princeton, and St. Peter Parish, Worcester, and associate pastor of several parishes.
Owen Coogan, 84, longtime fundraiser for the diocese, died Feb. 26. He graduated from St. Peter High School, the College of the Holy Cross and the Boston College School of Social Work and was inducted into the St. Peter’s and Holy Cross football halls of fame. The mayor of Worcester proclaimed Nov. 23, 1952, Owen Coogan Day in recognition of his football achievements.
Father Anthony Nockiunas, 83, died Feb. 27. He was born in Lithuania, lived through German and Russian occupations during World War II, escaped, and, in 1953, was ordained a priest of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception.
He taught at Marianapolis Preparatory School in Thompson,  Conn. He was an associate pastor of St. Casimir Parish in Worcester and parishes in the midwest and Argentina and served at the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge.


Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Webster began a signed Mass for the deaf at 6 p.m. each first Sunday of the month.
Bishop McManus joined Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, Bishop Michael T. Rozanski of Springfield and Bishop Edgar M. de Cunha of Fall River in calling for a comprehensive plan to address what they called a growing crisis of abuse and misuse of opioids.
Father Stephen M. Gemme was returned to limited pastoral ministry by Bishop McManus. He celebrates Mass and other sacraments at Crozier House, a Catholic Charities residential facility for those recovering from additions. He was placed on probation in 2015 for stealing funds from St. Bernadette Parish and school in Northborough, where he was pastor.
Nearly 1,000 men attended the 16th annual Diocesan Men’s Conference March 12 in the DCU Center. There were speakers, opportunities for confession and Mass with Bishop McManus.
Cardinal O’Malley celebrated Mass for the annual St. Francis Xavier Novena at St. John’s Church March 13.
Father John C. Hughes, 91, a Missionary of Our Lady of LaSalette, died March 8. He studied at Boston College and the College of the Holy Cross and was ordained in 1953. He served the LaSalette community around the country and at St. Joseph Parish, Fitchburg, from 1996 until his death.
Archbishop Michael W. Banach, 53, papal nuncio to Papua, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands, was named apostolic nuncio to Senegal and apostolic delegate to Mauritania March 19 by Pope Francis. He had been associate pastor of St. Anne Parish in Shrewsbury, and later entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See. He served in Bolivia, Nigeria, and the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, where he was desk officer for several European countries.
Michael Martino, of St. Mary Parish, Uxbridge, learned that equipment shipped to Kenya by Wells for Kenya, which he founded, was in service and providing clean water there. Over the years he and his organization raised funds for the project and Archbishop Gerry Kibarabara of the Gospel Assemblies of Kenya helped  overcome problems with red tape.


Four people were honored April 4 at the annual Mass for Life celebrated by Bishop McManus at St. Paul Cathedral. Carolyn Brennan, chief executive officer of Family Lives, and Dr. John Howland of St. Luke’s Health Center in Southbridge, received the Mother Teresa Pro-Life Award. Giulia Sena, a senior at St. Peter-Marian Central Catholic High School and active member of the school’s Guardians for Life club for four years, received the Ruth V. K. Pro-Life Youth Award. Jesuit Father John Gavin, a theology professor at the College of the Holy Cross, received the Gospel of Life Award.

Beth McManus and Brittany Gibbons greet each other before the St. Bernard’s junior receives the Charles & Beth McManus Award for Academic Excellence. Bishop McManus smiles in the background.  Photo by Tanya Connor

Beth McManus and Brittany Gibbons greet each other before the St. Bernard’s junior receives the Charles & Beth McManus Award for Academic Excellence. Bishop McManus smiles in the background.
Photo by Tanya Connor

Mary Lou Retelle, president of Anna Maria College in Paxton, spoke for the ninth annual Adopt-A-Student recognition dinner April 4 at Mechanics Hall in Worcester. The program has provided scholarships totaling more than $3,600,000 for students in the diocese’s central Catholic schools.    Students honored were: Lexie-Paige Boucher, Holy Name Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School, Bill & Kay O’Brien Award for best exemplifying Adopt-A-Student Program values, and four-year scholarship to Assumption College; Kaitlyn Roberts, Holy Name, Paul & Dorothy Kervick Award for Leadership; Brittany Gibbons, St. Bernard Central Catholic High School, Fitchburg, Charles & Beth McManus Award for Academic Excellence; Rebecca Gilchrist, St. Peter-Marian Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School, Wilfred & Bette Iandoli Award for Service.
Father William G. O’Brien, who retired in 1991, died on April 6. He was ordained in 1951. He was pastor of the following parishes: St. Paul, Warren; St. Leo, Leominster, and Immaculate Conception, Worcester. He was senior priest and administrator of Mary, Queen of the Rosary Parish, Spencer, and  St. Martin, Otter River.
The diocese launched an on-line survey focused on finding ways to keep local Catholics “better informed and connected to parish communities” and charitable, educational and pastoral ministries, according to Raymond L. Delisle, diocesan director of communications.
Pernet Family Health Service marked its 60th anniversary in Worcester April 6 at a celebration at Wachusett Country Club in West Boylston. The celebration also marked the 125th anniversary of the Little Sisters of the Assumption, who founded Pernet, arriving in the United States from France. Bishop Wright invited them to the Worcester Diocese in 1955 and they began providing health care services in the community.apr-john-c-_2908bishophand
A statue of the Blessed Mother, on tour in the United  States, was welcomed to St. John Paul II Parish in Southbridge and other places. The tour marks the 100th anniversary of the appearance of the Blessed Mother to three children in Fatima, Portugal. The anniversary is in 2017.
Bishop McManus presented the John Cardinal Wright Award to John Collins, of St. Mary Parish in Shrewsbury, April 21 at the Chancery. Mr. Collins has shared his knowledge of Thomas Merton through columns in The Catholic Free Press and by establishing what he said is the only prison chapter of the International Thomas Merton Society – at MCI-Shirley. He was formerly superintendent of schools in Shrewsbury.


Bishop McManus ordered Our Lady of Mount Carmel-St. Ann Church  closed after the 11:30 a.m. Mass May 1, after structural engineers said it was unsafe. He called it “a sad day for the parishioners” and said “our hearts go out to them …” Parishioners were invited to worship at Our Lady of Loreto Parish.
p1-may-mt-carmeldsc01512 The St. Francis Xavier Center soup kitchen at St. John Parish in Worcester extended its facilities, made possible by more than $300,000 in donations, including a $100,000 grant from the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts.
The world’s first Trappist Pilsner beer, brewed in the brewery at St. Joseph Abbey in Spencer, won the approval of the International Trappist Association. The association evaluates new types of beer and ale to decide whether they can carry the Trappist label. The new beer, one of four types brewed at St. Joseph’s, is called Feierabendbier.
Tom Bingham, football coach of St. Bernard’s Central Catholic High School in Fitchburg, was named Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Coach of the Year. He was an assistant coach for the Bernardians for eight years and has been head coach for 13 years. In 2015 the team won 11 games and made it to the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium, where they lost to Mashpee in a close game.
The McAuley Nazareth Home for Boys in Leicester named the school gymnasium after the late Msgr. Edmond T. Tinsley, who served the school for almost 60 years, first as assistant resident chaplain, then as resident chaplain. He also served the Worcester Diocese in many capacities, including director of the Office of Fiscal Affairs, a position he held until his retirement in 2008. Naming the gym after Msgr. Tinsley was seen as a fitting tribute because, while a student at Classical High School in Worcester, he was an All City All Star in both baseball and basketball.
Deacon Roger D. Arsenault, 87, the first permanent deacon ordained in the Worcester Diocese, died May 22. He was ordained June 24, 1978 and served at Our Lady Immaculate Parish, Athol; Holy Family of Nazareth Parish, Leominster, and Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish, Gardner. He retired in 2001.
Bishop McManus presented the St. Paul award to Kathleen Kelly  for her “many years of ministry as lector on the  daily TV Mass, ministering to the homebound in the Diocese of Worcester.” She retired May 31 after about 12 years as lector.


Two natives of Colombia were ordained priests by Bishop McManus June 4 in St. Paul Cathedral. Father Diego Arney Buritica  Zuluaga is now associate pastor at St. Leo’s Parish, Leominster. Father Wilmar Jair Ramos Mosquera is associate pastor at Annunciation Parish, Gardner.
The Catholic Free Press celebrated its 65th anniversary with a Mass at Blessed Sacrament Church in Worcester. Father Michael N. Lavallee, pastor of St. Ann Parish in North Oxford and a weekly columnist for the paper, was main celebrant. At a potluck dinner afterwards Margaret M. Russell, executive editor, announced Catholic Press Association awards received for work done in 2015. Reporters Tanya Connor and William T. Clew placed second for Best Coverage of Vocations to Priesthood, Religious Life or Deaconate. The paper won third place among diocesan weekly newspapers with a circulation of 25,000 or less for coverage of the Year of Consecrated Life, with stories by Mr. Clew, Miss Connor and correspondent Patricia O’Connell. Elizabeth Agbey won second place for page design. The paper was founded by Bishop Wright a year after the Worcester Diocese was formed out of the Diocese of Springfield. The first paper, a weekly tabloid, was published May 4, 1951.
Bishop McManus celebrated Mass for the Protection of Religious Freedom to open the Fortnight for Freedom in the diocese. After Mass Marie Hilliard, director of bioethics and public policy for the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, gave a talk about the Fortnight’s national theme, Witness to Freedom.
Catherine Loeffler, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Worcester, announced that she would leave her position Aug. 1. She served for 25 years. Michael Grenon, president of the board of directors, praised her long service and said she left the organization in excellent financial condition and with an experienced management team. Judith Zeh, assistant director since 2012, was named interim director.
Matthew Sturgis, headmaster at St. Peter-Marian Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School since 1996, retired effective June 30. He was the longest-serving and last headmaster at the school. He was succeeded by Christopher Cummings, the school’s first president. Mr. Cummings was director of career and technical education in Waltham. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University and graduate degrees from Providence College.


St. John Paul II Parish celebrated two anniversaries with two bishops. They were celebrating the fifth anniversary of the parish, formed July 1, 2011 from St. Mary, St. Hedwig and Notre Dame of the Sacred Heart parishes. They were also celebrating the 100th anniversary of the dedication of Notre Dame Church by Bishop Thomas D. Beaven of Springfield on July 2, 1916. The current bishop of Springfield, Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, celebrated the anniversary Mass. Bishop McManus participated.
Pope Francis named Archbishop Michael Banach to be apostolic nuncio to Cape Verde. The Worcester native  continues his duties as apostolic nuncio to Senegal and apostolic delegate to Mauritania.
Thieves broke into Our Lady of Czestochowa Church in Worcester July 2 and stole electronic equipment and a little cash and damaged a votive stand. Father Ryszard Polek, pastor, said two thieves were photographed by a security camera, but a third was not.
Frances Nugent, 80, director of the diocesan Office of Healing and Prevention, died July 6 after being stricken ill at work. She was an emergency social worker and, for more than 20 years, a clinical supervisor at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. She began work for the diocese in 2002.
A team working on a documentary about Knock, Ireland, for UTV Ireland, visited St. John, Guardian of Our Lady Parish in Clinton. They saw the parish’s outdoor shrine of Our Lady of Knock, features inside the church and a meeting of the Hibernians of Our Lady of Knock. Knock is in County Mayo where the ancestors of many Clinton residents lived.
The first-ever Congress of Assumptionist Educators, held July 17 to 27 at Assumption College, drew more than 60 people from Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America. Open to the public was a talk by Mary Ann Glendon, professor of law at Harvard University and former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, who spoke about challenges Catholics face in a secular society hostile to religion.


Bishop McManus was chosen as a catechist for World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland. He posted pictures on the Worcester Diocese’s papal Facebook page. Joining a Boston Archdiocesan WYD pilgrimage were Elizabeth Cotrupi, director of the Worcester Diocese’s youth ministry office; Father Tomasz J. Borkowski, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Whitinsville, and some of his parishioners, and members of Our Lady Immaculate Parish in Athol. Father Richard Polek, pastor of Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish in Worcester, led a group from the parish and St. Mary’s Schools. Assumptionist Father Ronald Sibugan, an Assumption College campus minister, went with men discerning vocations with his congregation.
aug-chandley-5031Bishop McManus presided at a send-off Mass at St. Ann Church in North Oxford for parishioner Emily Chandley, 18. The daughter of James and Kelly Chandley, she was entering the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence Aug. 15.
Father William C. Konicki, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Hopedale, returned to the parish after hiking the Way of St. James who was said to have preached in Spain. Father Konicki hiked for 657 miles in 37 days, from St. Jean Pied de Port in France, over the Pyrenees Mountains and across northern Spain to the Atlantic.
Friends of the SS. Francis and Therese Catholic Worker House, founded and run by Scott and Claire Schaeffer-Duffy, celebrated its 30th anniversary Aug. 13. Father John F. Madden, pastor of St. John’s Parish, celebrated Mass outside their house at 52 Mason St. in Worcester.
Bishop McManus took about 100 members of the diocese on a Year of Mercy pilgrimage to the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge. There he and other clergy celebrated Mass and led the Stations of the Cross.
Members of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel-St. Ann Parish revived the Italian Festival, which included Mass, food and fun on the church grounds. Some were trying to raise funds to repair the church, closed in May for safety reasons.


The annual Partners in Charity Appeal went over the $5 million goal, with $5,022,168 in gifts and pledges, said Mr. Gillespie. It was the first time the fund went over $5 million, the goal since 2011. Bishop McManus expressed his “profound gratitude” to God and people of the diocese. Partners in Charity helps support pastoral, charitable and educational ministries in the diocese.
Sister of Notre Dame Claire Elizabeth Lyons, 92, died Sept. 3 at the Notre Dame Long Term Care Center. She joined the sisters in 1945. She was a long-time teacher in schools affiliated with the sisters, including Our Lady of the Angels School in Worcester from 1971 through 1987.
All Saints Academy in Webster opened Sept. 8 with a ribbon-cutting by Bishop McManus after he celebrated Mass in St. Louis Church. The new school was formed from two of the three Catholic schools in Webster, St. Louis Elementary of St. Louis Parish and St. Anne Elementary of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish. St. Joseph Elementary School of St. Joseph Parish chose to remain apart.
St. Rose of Lima Parish, Northborough, held a prayer service on Sept. 11 in remembrance of those who died Sept. 11, 2001, in the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
Bishop McManus celebrated Mass Sept. 21 in St. Camillus de Lellis Church of St. Bernard Parish in Fitchburg to mark the 130th anniversary of St. Bernard Elementary School and to honor the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Father George H. Hill, 73, chaplain and student mentor at Manhattan College, a La Salette college in New York City, died Sept. 14. A Worcester native, he served in Worcester parishes as well as in parishes in the New York Archdiocese.
Bishop McManus appointed Judith Audette Victim Assistance Coordinator in the diocesan Office for Healing and Prevention. A licensed independent clinical social worker, she succeeds Frances Nugent, who died in July. She was executive director of Pathways of Central Massachusetts and has served as chairwoman of the diocesan Review Committee for the last seven years.


The Massachusetts rally of 40 Days for Life’s “United” bus tour was held Oct. 2 outside the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Worcester. David Bereit, the pro-life group’s CEO, said this was their first tour.
Bishop McManus joined the other Catholic bishops in Massachusetts in a statement opposing the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. They asked voters to oppose the ballot question which would legalize marijuana. (The question was approved by a large margin in November). The Bishop was also among speakers for a forum about voting, sponsored by The Catholic Free Press and the diocesan Respect Life Office and held on different dates this fall in local churches.
Bishop McManus asked the parishes of the diocese Oct. 5 to hold a special collection “as soon as possible” to help the people of Haiti who suffered from Hurricane Matthew, which devastated the island nation. He also sought prayers for them. The Worcester Diocese is twinned with the Diocese of Les Cayes, and some parishes are twinned.
Some people from here went there to help:
Sister Marie-Judith Dupuy, the Sister of St. Anne who directs the Worcester diocesan Haitian Apostolate, helped with diocesan efforts and took food to students in the education program. She reported the deaths of students in the Apostolate’s education program.
The Forward in Health medical clinic, started by Dr. John Mulqueen and his wife, Paula, from Gardner, sustained damage but reopened.
The Be Like Brit orphanage in Grand Goave had little damage and no loss of life. It was built by Len and Cherylann Gengel and named for their daughter, Brittany, who was killed by an earthquake in Haiti.
Deacon Peter and Linda Faford, and Kenneth Graff, all from St. Joseph Parish in Charlton, worked to help Pwoje Espwa Sud, an orphanage in Les Cayes.
Members of the Worcester Diocese later reported that they collected more than $200,000. The diocese sent $117,000 to the Diocese of Les Cayes, much of it from parishes’ collections. Other funds, including money donated by prisoners in MCI-Norfolk, were used to buy needed items, Sister Marie-Judith said.
Four nuns who served the diocese received Retired Religious awards Oct. 2 at a Mass celebrated by Bishop McManus in St. Paul Cathedral. They are: Sister Irma Gendreau, pfm; Sister Joan Mary McDermott, PBVM; Sister Maria Manzano, OSB, and Sister Mary Edward Messier, RSM.

The third annual Celebrate Priesthood gala to raise money for retired priests ministry was held Oct. 13 in St. Vincent Hospital’s atrium.
Speakers at the fourth annual Witness for Life forum, held Oct. 22 at Assumption College, touched on various end-of-life issues.
Holy Name Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School presented a musical titled “What We Do For Love” in the newly renovated Joseph R. Burke Center for the Performing Arts. A fund drive raised $250,000 for the work.
A new section of St. John’s Cemetery was opened and named after St. Bruno, an 11th Century scholar who founded the Carthusian Order. The section, in the south end of the cemetery, has a wide selection of grave sites, according to Robert V. Ackerman, director of the diocesan cemeteries office.
Sister Gemma Mary DeBaggis, 99, died Oct 27 in the Marie Esther Health Care Center in Marlborough. She entered the Little Sisters of the Assumption in 1958 after a 22-year career in business. She was a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). She served in New York, Kentucky, Philadelphia, Worcester and Italy, where met Pope John Paul II. At age 85 she joined the staff of Pernet Family Healthy Service in Worcester, where she was receptionist for 10 years. She received the Retired Religious award in 2005.


Bishop McManus appointed Paul G. Schasel of North Attleboro as director of fiscal affairs for the diocese. He began working with the diocese Nov. 14 and assumed official diocesan duties Dec. 30. He succeeds Carol Adams who retired after 28 years of service to the diocese.
Father Philip McNamara, 93, the last living member of the first class of priests ordained by Bishop Wright for the new Diocese of Worcester, died Nov. 2 at Christopher House in Worcester. He had retired in 1993. He was ordained May 18, 1950 in St. Paul Cathedral. He was an associate pastor, and a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force and served in Korea. He was an assistant director of Catholic Charities in the diocese, and worked with Catholic Relief Services in Vietnam, Thailand Cambodia and Lebanon.
Assumption College announced that it will use a gift from Michael Tsotsis and his wife, Dorothy, to build the 62,000 square-foot Tsotsis Family Academic Center. The gift’s amount was not announced, but the school said it was the second largest Assumption ever received. Mr. Tsotis, Class of 1971, was a trustee there for 21 years.
Bishop McManus closed the Holy Door at St. Paul Cathedral during a prayer service that officially closed the Year of Mercy in the diocese.
Frances E. Pike, 80, executive director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in the diocese, announced her retirement, effective Dec. 31. She served for 21 years.
Bishop McManus was host to about 150 people at the annual bishop’s Thanksgiving dinner in the Cenacle at St. Paul Cathedral. Volunteers serve the dinners and deliver meals to about 1,800 homes. Catholic Charities sponsors the dinners and Robert Cronin is coordinator.
Sister Juliette Collignon, SSA, 89, former principal of Holy Name High School, died Nov. 27 at Marie Esther Health Center in Marlborough, after 68 years of religious life.


St. Andrew’s African Choir Ministry launched its first CD, “The Gift of Love,” at a dinner at The Manor restaurant in West Boylston. The choir sings at African Masses at St. Andrew Church, a mission of St. Peter Parish, Worcester. They are seeking to evangelize more people with the CD.

Bishop McManus embraces Father Joseph Rice and Deacon Henry Ramirez stands aside them.  Photo by Margaret M. Russell

Bishop McManus embraces Father Joseph Rice and Deacon Henry Ramirez stands aside them.
Photo by Margaret M. Russell

Bishop McManus ordained Joseph David Rice, of Our Lady of Providence Parish at St. Bernard Church, a priest, and Henry Ramirez Pinzon of Colombia a transitional deacon Dec. 17 in St. Paul Cathedral.
A part-time music and theater arts teacher who worked at both St. Joseph Elementary School in Webster and St. Mary Elementary School in Shrewsbury was dismissed after allegations of sexual abuse were made against him. Derek P. Sylvester of Worcester was dismissed Dec. 2. The alleged abuse reportedly occurred in the early 1990s, before he was employed at these schools. He denied the charges.
Bishop McManus appointed Timothy McMahon of Holden as executive director of Catholic Charities Worcester County. He succeeds Catherine Loeffler. He was an associate director of the Rhode Island Department of Human Services, undersecretary for administration in the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development in Massachusetts and deputy commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents.
Bishop McManus was host for the annual Christmas Day dinner for anyone in need in the Cenacle at St. Paul Cathedral. Volunteers served dinners there and delivered them to homes.
Bishop McManus, through Father Richard F. Reidy, diocesan vicar general, told the Worcester City Council that, if the council and the city’s Historical Commission would remove from their agenda a proposal to make Our Lady of Mount Carmel-St. Ann Church and property on Mulberry Street a historic district, the diocese would not exercise its right to raze the church until after January 2018. The church was closed after architects said it was unsafe. Subsequently, Mauro DePasquale, representing the Mount Carmel Preservation Society, said the group would delay its request for the historic district if the diocese will make its promise “in writing.”
Timothy T. Messenger Jr., 27, associate director for youth and young adult ministry for the Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been named director of youth and young adult ministry for the Worcester Diocese, effective April 24. He succeeds Elizabeth Cotrupi, who resigned in August. His appointment was announced by interim director, Father Nicholas Desimone, pastor of St. Mary Parish, Uxbridge.