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DIOCESE OF FALL RIVER

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

  ________________________________________________________________

887 Highland Ave. · P.O. Box 7 · Fall River, MA 02722 · Tel. 508-675-0211 · FAX 508-675-5204

                                                                              www.fallriverdiocese.org

 

News Release

 

June 9, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE

RELEASE 

 

RETIREMENTS, TRANSFERS OF PRIESTS ANNOUNCED

       FALL RIVER - Bishop George W. Coleman has announced the retirement of three pastors in the Fall River diocese and changes in parish assignments for 12 priests.

 The retirements and appointments are announced in today’s edition (June 9, 2006) of The Anchor, the weekly diocesan newspaper.

 

Retiring as of June 28 are Rev. Edward J. Byington, pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Somerset; Rev. Msgr. John J. Smith, pastor of St. Pius X Parish, South Yarmouth; and Rev. Msgr. Ronald A. Tosti, pastor of Christ the King Parish, Mashpee.

 

Priests receiving new assignments, all to become effective June 28, are as follows:

 

Rev. Msgr. Stephen J. Avila, pastor of St. John Neumann Parish, East Freetown, will become pastor of St. Mary Parish, Mansfield.

 

Very Rev. George C. Bellenoit, pastor of St. Mary Parish, Mansfield, will become pastor of St. Pius X Parish, South Yarmouth.

 

Rev. Michael Ciryak, parochial administrator of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Swansea, will become pastor of that parish.

 

Rev. David A. Costa, while remaining pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, North Attleboro, will also become pastor of St. Mary Parish in North Attleboro.

 

Rev. Richard E. Degagne, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, Taunton, will become pastor of St. John Neumann Parish, East Freetown.

 

Rev. Msgr. Edmund J. Fitzgerald, pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish, Westport, will become pastor of St. Thomas More Parish, Somerset.

 

Rev. Leonard Hindsley, who has been in residence at Notre Dame de Lourdes Parish, Fall River, will become pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish, Westport.

 

Rev. Msgr. Daniel F. Hoye, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish, Attleboro, will become pastor of Christ the King Parish, Mashpee.

 

Rev. Hugh J. McCullough, parochial vicar of St. Francis Xavier Parish, Hyannis, will become pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Fall River.

 

Rev. John J. Perry, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Fall River, will become pastor of St. Jacques Parish and Immaculate Conception Parish, both in Taunton.

 

Rev. Robert J. Powell, parochial administrator of St. Mary Parish, North Attleboro, will become pastor of St. Joan of Arc Parish, Orleans.

 

Rev. Richard M. Roy, pastor of St. Joan of Arc Parish, Orleans, will become pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish, Attleboro.

 

Late last month Bishop Coleman announced the retirement of Rev. Luis A. Cardoso, pastor of St. Michael Parish, Fall River, which became effective May 31.  He was succeeded in that pastorate by Rev. Edward E. Correia, who had already been serving at that parish as parochial administrator.

 

RETIRING PASTORS

 

Father Byington, a priest for almost 37 years, is a Fall River native, the son of the late Maurice and Ethel (McCoomb) Byington.  After graduating from Boston College, he served in the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  He entered St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore in 1967 to prepare for the priesthood and was ordained Aug. 15, 1970 in St. Mary Cathedral in Fall River.

 

Father Byington served as parochial vicar at St. John the Evangelist Parish, Attleboro; Sacred Heart and St. Paul, Taunton; St. Patrick, Fall River; St. George, Westport; and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Seekonk.

 

In 1986, he was named pastor of his native Sacred Heart Parish in Fall River, serving there for nine years, and then became pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Hyannis for five years.  Among his accomplishments there was the establishment in 1996 of the St. Francis Xavier Preparatory School.  In 2000, he was named to his present post at St. Thomas More Parish in Somerset.

 

He was also a former editor of the diocesan weekly, The Anchor, and diocesan director of communications. From 1990 to 1995, he was chaplain for the Fall River Police Department and also served in the same capacity with the Barnstable Police Department while assigned in Hyannis.

 

Father Byington also taught German at Coyle and Cassidy High School, Taunton; English at the Catholic Theological Academy, Warsaw, Poland; and Christian Ethics at Salve Regina University, Newport. 

 

Father Cardoso, a priest for 48 years, was born on Flores Island, Azores, the son of the late Francisco I. and Maria (Fagundes) Cardoso.  He studied for the priesthood at the Seminary of Angra, Teceira Islands, Azores, and was ordained on June 15, 1958 in the Cathedral of Angra. 

 

Coming to the Fall River Diocese three months after ordination, Father Cardoso served as associate pastor at St. John the Baptist and Immaculate Conception Parishes, New Bedford, and at Espirito Santo, Fall River.  In 1976 he was named pastor of the former Our Lady of Health Parish in Fall River. Three years later, in 1979, he returned to Espirito Santo, Fall River, this time as pastor, remaining there until June 1996, when he was appointed to St. Michael Parish.

 

When he celebrated his silver jubilee of ordination in June 1983, one of his brothers, Father Antonio Cardoso, who had served on the Island of Faial, Azores, until his death in 2001, was able to come to Fall River to be a concelebrant at the anniversary Mass.

 

Msgr. Smith has been a priest for 47 years.  Born in New Bedford, he is the son of the late Ambrose and Nora (Sparrow) Smith. He studied for the priesthood at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore following his graduation from Providence College and was ordained April 25, 1959 in St. Mary’s Cathedral.

 

He served as an assistant at St. Patrick’s Church, Wareham, and St. James, New Bedford, before becoming pastor at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Attleboro in 1975.  He served there for 14 years before becoming pastor in 1989 of his current parish, St. Pius X, in South Yarmouth.

 

While in South Yarmouth he led the parish’s school building project, opening the St. Pius X School in 2004.

 

Along with his parish ministry, Msgr. Smith served in several other appointments.  Chief among them was service as the director of Vocations for the Fall River diocese for over 30 years, from 1965 to 1997.  He was also an episcopal vicar for the Attleboro-Taunton and the Cape and Islands regions; a longtime member of the diocesan Priests’ Council; a member of the diocesan College of Consultors; C.C.D. director for the New Bedford area; chaplain of the New Bedford Serra Club; and chaplain at the former SMU, now UMass-Dartmouth.

 

He was named a Prelate of Honor with the title of reverend monsignor by Pope John Paul in 1987.

 

Msgr. Tosti, a priest for 44 years, is a native of Taunton, the son the late Antonio and Norma (Ginesi) Tosti.  He prepared for the priesthood at St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, Conn., and St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, Md., and was ordained a priest May 11, 1962 in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River.

 

He served as a parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Osterville; Sacred Heart Parish, Fall River; and Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Fall River.

 

In 1977, he was named pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New Bedford.

 

In 1984 he was appointed administrator of St. Jude the Apostle Chapel, Cotuit and of Our Lady of All Saints Chapel, Mashpee.  Later that year he was named founding pastor of Christ the King Parish, Mashpee, formed by joining the two missions which were previously part of Our Lady of the Assumption parish, Osterville.

 

As pastor he oversaw the building of the large parish complex which includes a church, chapel, educational facilities, offices, and rectory, all under one roof.

 

Throughout the years, he was appointed to serve in a number of other capacities, as co-director of the Cape Cod C.C.D. and later diocesan director of C.C.D.; and as a member of the diocesan Tribunal, the Priests’ Council, the Pastoral Council, and the Divine Worship Commission.  In 1979, he coordinated the yearlong celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Fall River Diocese, and from 1978 to 1988 he was diocesan director of Family Ministry during which time he established the Family Life Center in North Dartmouth.

 

In 1999 he was appointed director of Pastoral Planning for the diocese, a position which he held until 2005.

 

Pope John Paul II named Msgr. Tosti a Chaplain to the Holy Father with the title of reverend monsignor in 1999.

 

 

 

PRIESTS RECEIVING NEW ASSIGNMENTS

 

Msgr. Avila, a New Bedford native, was ordained a priest on July 18, 1981.  He served as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, New Bedford; St. Mary Parish, Mansfield; St. Julie Billiart Parish, North Dartmouth; and as chaplain at Bishop Stang High School, North Dartmouth.  In June 1994 he was appointed secretary to then Bishop Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap.  While remaining secretary, in 1998 he became a part-time assistant at St. Stanislaus Parish, Fall River, and in July 1999 parochial administrator at SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Fall River.  On Aug. 19, 1999, he was appointed a Chaplain to His Holiness Pope John Paul II with the title of reverend monsignor.  In 2000, he was appointed pastor of St. John Neumann Parish, East Freetown.  Msgr. Avila is also director of the Diocesan Television Apostolate and director of the diocesan Worship Office.  He was chairperson for the weeklong diocesan Eucharistic Congress in June 2000.

 

Born in New Bedford, Father Bellenoit was ordained a priest May 13, 1972.  He first served as parochial vicar at St. Mary Parish, Mansfield, and St. Mark Parish, Attleboro Falls, before being assigned to hospital ministry at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River.  While serving at St. Mark’s, he was also chaplain for Bishop Feehan High School, Attleboro, and vocations coordinator for the Attleboro area.  In 1990, he was named director of the diocesan Department of Pastoral Care for the Sick and, while maintaining that post, became pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Somerset in 1993. He returned to St. Mary’s in Mansfield, this time as pastor, in 1996. He has served on the diocesan Tribunal and Priests’ Council. He is currently dean of the Attleboro deanery.

 

Father Ciryak, a Cleveland native, was ordained a priest in the Franciscan Order on May 23, 1998 and was incardinated a priest of the Fall River Diocese in February of this year. Since 2002, he has assisted in this diocese at St. Mary Parish, Mansfield, Holy Name Parish, Fall River, and at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Swansea, where he has been parochial administrator since March.  For the past three years he has been chaplain at Bishop Connolly High School, Fall River, and diocesan director of Campus Ministry.

 

Father Correia was born in New Bedford and ordained a priest on May 18, 1968. He was parochial vicar at Our Lady of Victory, Centerville; Sacred Heart, Oak Bluffs; Our Lady of Mount Carmel, New Bedford; and St. Anthony of Padua, Fall River. After that, he served as chaplain at St. Luke’s Hospital, New Bedford, until 1986 when he was named pastor at St. Bernard Parish in Assonet.  Six years later he became pastor at St. Anthony of Padua, Fall River, and in 1994 pastor at St. James Parish, New Bedford.  He was named pastor at St. Michael, Swansea, in 2004 and remained at the parish, which in January of this year became St. Francis of Assisi, until this past March.  He was then appointed to St. Michael in Fall River.  He has also been diocesan director of Vocations and Seminarians since 2004.

 

Born in Taunton, Father Costa was ordained a priest on June 22, 1985. He was a parochial vicar at St. Thomas More, Somerset; St. Mark’s, Attleboro Falls; and St. Joseph, North Dighton. In 1997, he was named pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Fall River, serving there until 2000, when he became pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, North Attleboro.  He has also served as chaplain at Bishop Feehan and Bishop Connolly high schools, in Attleboro and Fall River, respectively; was director of the Diocesan Choir; and served as assistant director and director of the diocesan Office of Youth Ministry.

 

Father Degagne, a Fall River native, was ordained on June 5, 1982.  He served as parochial vicar at Holy Name and Parish, Fall River; St. Anthony of Padua, New Bedford; and Notre Dame, Fall River. While at the latter two assignments he was also director of campus ministry at the then Southeastern Massachusetts University, now UMass-Dartmouth.  From 1986 to 1991, he was on the diocesan Vocations Team.  In 1994 he was named pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in North Attleboro. Six years later he was assigned as pastor to Immaculate Conception Parish in Taunton.

 

Raised in Taunton Msgr. Fitzgerald was ordained a priest May 18, 1968.  Following ordination, he was assigned as parochial vicar at Holy Name Parish, Fall River, serving there for six years. He then became director of the Pastoral Care Department at St. Anne’s Hospital, Fall River, and in 1977 was appointed director of the diocesan Department of Pastoral Care for the Sick.  In 1986, he became pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish, Westport. In addition to his pastorate, since 1988 he has also directed the Diocesan Health Facilities office which oversees the five diocesan nursing homes. He served for many years as the diocesan liaison to Cursillo.  He became dean of the Fall River deanery in 1997 and two years later, in 1999, was named a Chaplain to His Holiness Pope John Paul II with the title of reverend monsignor.

 

 Father Hindsley was ordained a priest in the Dominican Order of Friars Preachers on May 25, 1984, and was incardinated as a priest of the Diocese of Fall River in March of this year. For the past six years, he has been in residence at Notre Dame de Lourdes Parish in Fall River, assisting there as well as at St. John the Baptist in Westport, where he will now become pastor.  Father Hindsley also teaches at Providence College and will continue to do so while serving at his new assignment.

 

Msgr. Hoye, a Taunton native, was ordained May 13, 1972 and spent the first two years of his priesthood at St. John the Evangelist Parish, Attleboro, and St. Mary Parish, Norton. After a two-year period of graduate studies, he was named vice-officialis of the Fall River Marriage Tribunal. In 1977, he became assistant general secretary, then associate general secretary, and finally general secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops-United States Catholic Conference in Washington, D.C.  He was named a Prelate of Honor by Pope John Paul II with the title of reverend monsignor in 1982.  Upon his return to the diocese in 1989, he was appointed pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Attleboro.  At the same time, he was named episcopal vicar for the Attleboro-Taunton area and a judge for the Marriage Tribunal.  Among his service on many boards and committees, he was chairman and member of the Priests’ Council for several years and was general chairman of the Diocesan Centennial Observance in 2004.  He is currently the president of the Canon Law Society of America.

 

Father McCullough was ordained a priest into the order of Salesians of St. John Bosco on May 26, 1979 and was incardinated as a priest of the Diocese of Fall River in 2000.  He has served as parochial vicar at St. Patrick Parish, Wareham, St. Pius X Parish, South Yarmouth, and St. Francis Xavier Parish, Hyannis.  He has also been chaplain at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford.

 

Father Perry, who was born in Fall River, was ordained a priest on June 11, 1983.  He was a parochial vicar at Holy Name Parish in New Bedford and at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Centerville.  In 1996, he was named pastor at St. Joseph Parish, Fall River.  He has been chaplain to police departments in Fall River and New Bedford and chaplain at Cape Cod Community College.  He also served as diocesan director of Continuing Formation of Clergy.

 

Father Powell was ordained a Benedictine father on June 19, 1976 and was incardinated into the Diocese of Fall River in February of this year.  Prior to his incardination, he assisted at St. Pius X Parish, South Yarmouth, St. Julie Billiart Parish, North Dartmouth, and St. Mary Parish, Seekonk, during which time he was also a chaplain at Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro.  He has been parochial administrator at St. Mary’s, North Attleboro, for the past six months.

 

Father Roy, a native of New Bedford, was ordained on May 10, 1975.  He served as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Parish, Taunton, and then was in residence at St. Mary’s, Taunton, while serving as chaplain at Coyle-Cassidy High School in that city.  Father Roy has also served as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Grace Parish, Westport; St. Patrick, Falmouth; and St. Joan of Arc, Orleans.  In 1993, he was named pastor of St. Stephen Parish, Attleboro, and in 1996 returned to St. Joan Arc, Orleans, as pastor.  He has served as a juvenile court chaplain in Attleboro and as spiritual director for several programs and groups, among them are the Marriage Prep Program in the Fall River and Cape Cod deaneries, Engaged Encounter, ECHO, and Cape and Islands Separated/Divorced Support Group

 

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