Bishop McManus will be principal celebrant in a Mass of Christian burial at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. John Church for Msgr. Edmond T. Tinsley, P.A., 88, who died Sept. 19 in Worcester.
Burial will be in St. John Cemetery. Calling hours will be from 4 to 7 p.m. in St. John’s, 40 Temple St., followed by a vigil service.
In a joint statement, Sister Carol Kell, Sister Janet Ballentine, and Sister Mary Barry, Sisters of Mercy who worked with Msgr. Tinsley at the McAuley Nazareth School for Boys in Leicester for more than 50 years, said it was a blessing to have been a part of his life.
“Above all, Msgr. Tinsley was a priest to his flock,” they said. “He touched the lives of so many in all walks of life. It was a blessing to have been part of his life, and he continues to be a source of strength and comfort.”
Msgr. Tinsley lived at Nazareth. When he and the Sisters left, they lived at 8 Berwick St., Worcester, and the Sisters cared for the monsignor until he died.
Jerome D. Jessaume, former co-director of the diocesan Office of Fiscal Affairs and now financial adviser, said he worked with Msgr. Tinsley at the Chancery for more than 10 years.
“He was the finest priest I’ve ever encountered,” he said.
He said the monsignor was “a commanding force” in the Diocese, and “a man of great integrity.”
He said that when Msgr. Tinsley delivered a message, people listened and heeded it.
Msgr. Tinsley was born May 9, 1927, son of James J. and Catherine M. (Walsh) Tinsley.
He graduated from Classical High School, Worcester, where he was an All-City All Star in both basketball and baseball. He attended the College of the Holy Cross on an athletic scholarship. He prepared for the priesthood at the Seminary of Philosophy and the Grand Seminary, Montreal.
He was ordained at St. Paul Cathedral on May 19, 1951, by then Bishop John J. Wright.
He was named associate pastor of Our Lady Immaculate Parish, Athol. He later was associate pastor of St. Mary Parish, Jefferson, and St. Leo’s Parish, Leominster.
On Aug. 14, 1957, he was appointed an assistant director of Catholic Charities, and shortly afterwards was assigned as resident chaplain at Nazareth Home for Boys, Leicester.
He was named temporary administrator of St. Columba Parish, Paxton, in July 1961. He then began studies at Boston College School of Social Work, graduating with a master’s degree in social work. On completing those studies, he was again assigned as resident chaplain at Nazareth while working in the Catholic Charities office.
In 1968 he was named board chairman of the Worcester Community Action Council Inc., an anti-poverty agency. In 1970 he spent three weeks in Africa, observing programs conducted by Catholic Relief Services, the overseas agency of the U.S. Catholic Conference.
He was one of 17 diocesan directors of the Catholic Relief Overseas Aid Fund Appeal.
He received the annual award for outstanding service for autistic children from the Association of Mentally Ill Children in May 1975.
On Dec. 16, 1983, he was named diocesan director of human services. In that post, he coordinated the activities of the several agencies and bureaus involved in social service work under Catholic auspices in Worcester County.
Bishop Harrington named him temporary president of St. Vincent Hospital and temporary chief executive officer of the St. Vincent Healthcare Systems Inc., in November 1985, while the trustees recruited permanent officers.
He was also appointed diocesan director of Catholic Charities on Feb. 8, 1987, while continuing as diocesan director of human services. At the same time he was named diocesan director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. He resigned the Catholic Charities post on Dec. 31, 1990.
In 1987 the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers awarded him the Beverly Ross Fliegel Public Service Award in recognition of his more than 30 years as a principal figure in public service in Central Massachusetts and his commitment to serving the needs of the community.
He was vicar general for the diocese from 1988 to 1994.
On Jan. 1, 1991, he was named director of the diocesan Office of Fiscal Affairs, a position he held until his retirement July 1, 2008. On May 28, 1991, he was also named protonotary apostolic with the title of monsignor. He retired from active ministry in 2010.
In 2004, Msgr. Tinsley received the St. Paul Award, named after the diocesan patron saint. His certificate, presented by Bishop Reilly, noted his priestly ministry as a parish priest, chaplain of the McAuley Nazareth Home for Boys, vicar general and diocesan director of Catholic Charities, Human Services, and Fiscal Affairs.
He wrote an article in 1991 for The Catholic Free Press in which he was asked to explore the idea of his family of origin or his family of choice.
“As I thought about it,” he wrote, “I realized with great gratitude that my family of origin is, also, my family of choice.”
He wrote of his parents coming to Worcester from Ireland, meeting here and marrying, his nine brothers and sisters, one of whom died of pneumonia at age 6, the love they and, eventually, their extended families gave him and the values they gave him.
“I choose my family of origin,” he wrote, “which has given me the blessings of life, a reservoir of values and memories for now and forever.
“Postscript – I was the youngest child in my family, so I know what it is to be spoiled. It was the greatest.”
He leaves a sister-in-law, Dorothy Tinsley of Hyannis, many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews and great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews, as well as his fellow priests. He also leaves Sister Carol Kell, Sister Janet Ballentine, and Sister Mary Barry, Sisters of Mercy, with whom he worked for more than 50 years at McAuley Nazareth Home.
He was pre-deceased by his brothers, Mayor Joseph M. Tinsley, William Tinsley, John J. Tinsley, James F. Tinsley and Robert G. Tinsley, and his sisters, Mary C. Langlois, Kathleen N. O’Hearn, Rita Tinsley and Margaret T. DiMauro.
Donations in his name may be made to the McAuley Nazareth Home for Boys, 77 Mulberry St. Leicester, MA 01524, or the Clergy Retirement Fund, Diocese of Worcester, 49 Elm St. Worcester, MA 01609