FALL RIVER — Three priests of the Diocese of Fall River will retire at the end of June after serving for decades in parishes and ministries.
Entering retirement are Reverend George E. Harrison, pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in East Sandwich, who this year observed 55 years in the priesthood; Reverend Raymond Cambra, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish, Seekonk, 46 years in priestly ministry; and Reverend Jon-Paul Gallant, pastor of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Parish, South Attleboro, 45 years.
Their retirements were announced last month by Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., and will become effective on June 30, 2023.
Father Cambra is a native of New Bedford and a graduate of Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in that city and Bishop Stang High School in Dartmouth. He prepared for the priesthood at St. Mary’s Seminary in Kentucky and St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Mass., and was ordained on May 14, 1977, by Bishop Daniel A. Cronin in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River.
He began his priestly ministry at Immaculate Conception Parish in Fall River as a parochial vicar and then served in that capacity at Immaculate Conception, Taunton; Santo Christo, Fall River; and St. Pius X, South Yarmouth.
Bishop Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap., appointed him pastor of St. Elizabeth Parish, Fall River, in 1995, where he remained until 2000 when he became pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, also in Fall River. He was instrumental in starting the Sacred Heart Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry, which he continued to oversee for several months after the parish was joined with St. Mary’s Cathedral.
In 2015, he began concurrent assignments in Falmouth, as parochial vicar at St. Patrick Parish and in pastoral ministry in Falmouth Hospital. He returned to full time parish ministry in 2017 with his appointment as pastor at Our Lady of Queen of Martyrs Parish, Seekonk, from which he will retire.
Father Gallant, a Fall River native, was born and raised in the former St. William Parish in that city. He attended St. Jean Baptiste School and Msgr. Prevost High School, both in Fall River, after which he attended Stonehill College in Easton.
He studied for the priesthood at St. John’s Seminary College, Brighton, and at the Pontifical North American College and the Gregorian University in Rome, from which he earned advanced degrees in theology. He was ordained to the priesthood on July 22, 1978, by Bishop Cronin in St. Mary’s Cathedral. In 1985, he returned to Rome for additional advanced studies at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute at San Anselmo University, receiving a licentiate in sacred liturgy.
As a parochial vicar, he served at Our Lady of Grace, Westport; St. Mary’s Cathedral and Immaculate Conception, Fall River; Our Lady of Victory, Centerville; St. John Neumann, East Freetown; St. Mary and Holy Name, New Bedford; St. Francis Xavier, Hyannis; and Sacred Heart, Taunton.
He was also a parochial administrator at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Seekonk and Holy Name Parish in New Bedford.
In June 1996, he was named pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Taunton. Following the merger of Sacred Heart with Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in 2001, he became pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish, Chatham, for seven years, and then served briefly at Immaculate Conception Parish in Easton. He began his current pastorate at St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Parish in South Attleboro in 2009.
Along with his parish ministry, Father Gallant also served in a number of diocesan assignments: director of the Diocesan Office for Divine Worship; member and chairman of the Divine Worship Commission; assistant chancellor; director of the RCIA; auditor in the Diocesan Tribunal; and member of the Presbyteral Council.
Father Harrison grew up in Somerset, a member of St. Thomas More Parish, and attended the town’s Pottersville School and Somerset Junior High School. After graduation from Msgr. Coyle High School in Taunton, he entered St. Mary’s College in Kentucky to prepare for the priesthood and continued at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 18, 1968, by Bishop James L. Connolly in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River.
Over the first 15 years of his priesthood, he served as a parochial vicar at five parishes: St. Joseph and St. Mary, Taunton; St. Mary, New Bedford; Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Seekonk; and St. Julie Billiart, North Dartmouth.
During those years, he also completed graduate studies, earning a master’s degree in education from Bridgewater State College in 1975.
He was the founding pastor of St. John Neumann Parish, serving in East Freetown from 1983 to 1993 and overseeing construction of the church and parish complex. From there, he became pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Seekonk, and then of Holy Name, Fall River, in 2005. Five years later, he was named pastor at Corpus Christi Parish, East Sandwich.
For many years, Father Harrison’s ministry also focused on serving youth and young adults. He was director of Cathedral Camp and Retreat Center from 1983 to 1993. He was named director of the newly created Diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry in 1989 and followed as Vicar for Youth and then Diocesan Secretary for Youth in later re-organizations of youth ministry in the Diocese.
Other diocesan appointments included chaplain at Coyle and Cassidy High School, Taunton, and Bishop Stang High School, North Dartmouth; director of campus ministry at UMass-Dartmouth; and secretary to the Bishop and assistant chancellor.