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Two priests die

Posted By August 23, 2012 | 1:13 pm | Local

Father Arthur A. Ouillette, 88, music director

Bishop McManus was principal celebrant at a Mass of Christian Burial Wednesday in St. Paul Cathedral for Father Arthur A. Ouillette, 88, former diocesan director of sacred music, who died Aug. 16 in St. Vincent Hospital.
A vigil service was held Tuesday evening in the cathedral. Burial, after cremation, will be in Holy Rosary Cemetery, Caribou, Maine.
Father Ouillette was born Sept. 15, 1923, in Caribou, son of Arthur and Leona (Desjordin) Ouillette. He graduated from Caribou High School  in 1940.
He entered Becker Junior College and, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, plunging the United States into World War II, he tried to enlist in the military, he said in a Catholic Free Press interview in 2005.
But he was turned down because he weighed only 108 pounds. He finished his studies at Becker in 1942 and completed advanced studies in liturgical music at the Pius X Institute at Manhattanville College in New York City. Then he was drafted into the U.S. Navy.
“You can imagine how things were going when they drafted a 108-pound man,” he said in the interview.
He served in the Pacific Theater of War with the Naval Air Transport Command. At times  he worked with Catholic Navy chaplains which, he said, may have triggered a start toward his vocation to the priesthood. He also met and worked with Bishop Thomas Wade, a Marist whose diocese was the Solomon Islands. He said Bishop Wade had a strong influence on his decision to consider the priesthood.
After U.S. forces drove the Japanese from the Philippines he helped some of those freed from Japanese prison camps onto U.S. Naval Transport planes for flights to the United States. One of those was Sister Clarissa Mackie, then known as Sister Mary Beata, a Maryknoll missionary from Worcester.
When he was discharged from the Navy in 1946, he said in the interview, he took advantage of the G.I. Bill which helped pay college tuition for ex-servicemen and entered the College of the Holy Cross. It was there, he said, that he decided to become a priest.
He graduated in 1950 and entered the Grand Seminary in Montreal and later transferred to St. John Seminary in the Brighton section of Boston.
He was ordained a priest on Feb. 2, 1955 by Bishop Wright in St. Paul Cathedral. He said that, after the ordination, he and the other new priests were invited to lunch in the rectory.
There, Bishop Wright said to him, “Arthur, I understand you’ve had a little experience in music.”
“Yes, I have,” Father Ouillette said.
“You may live to regret it,” said the bishop, and handed him his first assignment, assistant pastor at the cathedral and director of the Schola and sanctuary choir. That summer he directed the music for the liturgies of the National Conference Convention at the Worcester Memorial Auditorium.
He was diocesan director of sacred music for 20 years. Bishop Wright also named him to the first diocesan Liturgical Commission. He  helped with the design of the new organ at the cathedral. He and Luke Richard, cathedral organist, helped plan and design several new organs for churches in the diocese, including the Casavant Brothers organ at St. Peter’s, the Wicks organ at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – St. Anne, the Austin organ at Sacred Heart of Jesus in Milford, the Berkshire organ in St. Paul’s in Warren and the Wicks organ in the sanctuary at the cathedral.
He chaired the diocesan sacred music commission that selected the music for a supplement to the diocesan Mass book after the Second Vatican Council. The Mass book later was distributed nationally. He also helped arrange a supplement to the music section of the Mass book.
He was a member of the St. Pius X Guild of Organists, the National Liturgical Conference, the National Catholic Music Educators Association and was vice president of the National Ecumenical Music Association.
In 1969 he was named assistant pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Worcester. In 1973 he was appointed pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Leicester. He  was named pastor of St. Mary’s Parish, Southbridge, in 1982 and, in 1991, pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in the Jefferson section of Holden. He retired in 1997.
Father Ouillette leaves two brothers, Richard and Reginald Ouillette, both of Caribou; five sisters,  Katherine Karr of Lancaster, Calif.; Mona MacBain of Clinton, Conn.; Ruth Vermette of Skowhegan, Maine; Greta Cianchette of Detroit, Maine, and Sheila Jacobson of Grey, Maine, and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
Donations may be made to the Classical Music Studies program at the College of the Holy Cross, 1 College St., Worcester 01610.


Father Urbain J. Gionet, 90, pastor emeritus

NORTH OXFORD – Bishop McManus will celebrate a Mass of Christian burial at 11 a.m. today in St. Ann Church for Father Urbain J. Gionet, 90, pastor emeritus of St. Camillus de Lellis Parish in Fitchburg, who died Aug. 16 in Auburn.
Visitation, wake and vigil services were held last night. Burial will be in St. Roch Cemetery.
He was born Aug. 1, 1922, in Shirley, son of Joseph and Agnes (Landry) Gionet. He graduated in 1942 from Oxford High School. He attended the College of the Holy Cross and St. Charles Seminary in Baltimore, Md.
He studied for the priesthood from 1944 to 1951 at the  Seminary of Philosophy and the Grand Seminary of Montreal, Quebec. He was ordained a priest Dec. 30, 1951, by Bishop Wright in St. Paul Cathedral.
He served as assistant pastor at the following parishes:
Sacred Heart of Jesus, Webster; St. Joseph, Auburn; St. Martin, Otter River; St. John the Evangelist, Clinton; Our Lady of the Rosary, Spencer; St. John, Worcester; St. Joseph, North Brookfield; St. Bernard, Fitchburg; Our Lady of Fatima, Worcester; St. Louis, Webster, and St. Pius X, Leicester.
On Sept. 18, 1970, Bishop Flanagan appointed him pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish, Bolton. While in Bolton he also served as chaplain at the Lancaster School for Girls. After that he took a sabbatical leave to study at the Notre Dame Institute for Clergy Education. On Jan. 12, 1978 he was named pastor of St. Camillus de Lellis.
He retired on June 26, 1992.
In his early years, Father Gionet enjoyed playing piano at many family functions and also enjoyed playing for the residents at the Southgate community in Shrewsbury. He enjoyed spending time when possible in Dennis on Cape Cod. He liked to play tennis and golf and was an avid Red Sox fan.
One of 10 children, Father Gionet is survived by a brother, Harold, of Auburn, and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. He was predeceased by three sisters; Ann Legere, Martha Browning and Mary Gionet, and six brothers; baby Lawrence, Archie, Charles, Lawrence, Paul and Joseph Gionet