In September of 2001 Mary OíNeil, a teacher at Christ the King parish in Worcester, accepted the position as Director of Religious Education. In her role here she introduced changes in the Religious Education program and Sacramental Preparation program, placing an emphasis on some of the diocesan recommendations such as frequent prayer experiences and expanded classroom time. She stayed at St. Columba for the 2001-2002 school year before accepting a position in the Catholic School system of Worcester. For most of the 2002-2003 year, St. Columba did not have an "official" DRE, but the next DRE, Hal Campbell was already busy studying the curriculum, schedule and resources available as an applicant to that position.
Norbert "Deacon Archie" Archibald was ordained on December 8th, 2001 at St. Paul's Cathedral, and accepted an assignment at St. Columba just before Christmas 2001. This was a real blessing for our parish, as Deacon Archie showed both zeal for the message of Christian non-violence, and personal concern for those around him. His devotion to the Eucharist and his ability to network with people has had a very edifying effect on the life of St. Columba parish.Administrative changes:
On November 12th, 2002, our friend Anita Glondek was called home. Anita quietly and unassumingly worked for St. Columba parish since before Fr. Thomas arrived in 1985. Over the years, she was a faithful and industrious help to Fr. Thomas in administrative affairs of the parish. She also served as a bookkeeper for many churches, including her own parish of St. Mary's in Southbridge.
Lisa Reider joined the staff of St. Columba at the end of 2002. She brought with her experience in new office technology which she utilizes in her own private business practice, and has worked in an administrative capacity in other parishes as well. Lisa has been instrumental in modernizing processes such as electronic submission of the bulletin to the publisher, and timely updates to this website.
Fr. John Thomas received his BA in Philosophy from Boston College in 1950 and continued studies in Montreal, Canada before receiving both the Bachelor of Sacred Theology (STB) in 1953 and Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) degrees in 1955 from the Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. He was ordained to the Roman Catholic Priesthood on December 8, 1954 at North American College in Rome .
In 1956 he was named Assistant Director of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) and then from 1957 to 1961 taught Theology at St. Vincent Hospital School of Nursing in Worcester while also teaching a course in the Classics at the Secondary School level. In 1961 Fr. Thomas was appointed Headmaster of St. Peter Central Catholic High School and Assistant Superintendent for Diocesan Primary and Secondary Schools. The year following his appointment, he received a dual Master of Arts in Guidance and Psychology from Assumption College in Worcester. In 1966 Fr. Thomas was made Superintendent, a position which he held for eight years. Again promoted in 1974, he became Director of Education.
Fr. Thomas was appointed Pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in West Boylston MA in 1976 and served there for two years before he was appointed the Business Manager of the North American College in Rome and served as one of the Spiritual Directors for students in 1978. He remained in this position until 1985, when he came to us at St. Columba. On June 22nd 2003, after 18 years of service, Fr. John Thomas retired as pastor of St. Columba.
Shortly before Fr. Thomas' retirement there was a change in the music: Organist and Choir Director Myles Tronic was offered a position in a large active church in Fitchburg. His replacement Clinton Fairbanks was organist and director for four short months. He passed away suddenly on May 2, 2003 after joining Saint Columba in January of 2003. Prior to that he served six years as the Music Director at St. Mary's in Uxbridge and served as organist at the Church of Notre Dame in the town of Southbridge for 25 years.
After a very quiet Easter season, Diane Desautels joined St. Columba as organist at the beginning of June 2003, coming from Southbridge where she is a partner in a local law firm.
Fr. Thomas' replacement, Fr. James Shea, became pastor of St. Columba from June 29th, 2003 to July 3, 2006. Fr. Shea graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in 1965 and entered the US Coast Guard in 1966, serving on a buoy tender in Alaska. Later he served at life saving stations in New Jersey and Massachusetts. He left the Coast Guard with the rank of seaman first class in 1970. He graduated from Worcester State College in 1980 with a bachelor of science degree in urban studies but then decided to study for the priesthood at Christ the King Seminary, East Aurora, N.Y. He was ordained by Bishop Harrington in St. Paul Cathedral, Worcester, on Jan. 5, 1985. Afterward Fr. Shea served as associate pastor of St. Peter Parish from Jan. 18, 1985, to Feb. 12, 1991 when he was named associate pastor at St. Joan of Arc Parish. While at St. Joan of Arc he spent three months in Puerto Rico studying Spanish. He was assigned as associate pastor at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish on June 15, 1996. On July 3rd, 2006 after a sudden hospitalization for a clot-related stroke, Fr. Shea went home to God. The church was filled with mourners for a man that the congregation knew as "a big guy with a big heart."
Shortly after Fr. Shea arrived, the need to replace interim Director of Religious Education Hal Campbell with a permanent position became apparent. Mrs. Terry Nummelin came to St. Columba in 2003 from St. George's parish in Worcester, bringing with her an extensive background as a Religious Education instructor. Terry placed a fresh emphasis on liturgical detail that displays itself particularly in the preparation and reception of Sacraments by children for the first time. Terry put in countless hours of time since then both to grow the program and to collect new ideas through additional training and through contacts throughout the Diocese of Worcester.
A week after the sudden loss of Fr. Shea (on July 15th), Bishop McManus asked Msgr. Thomas J. Sullivan to pastor St. Columba. Through the short time that Msgr. Sullivan was in the parish, he continued as diocesan chancellor and diocesan director of development.
Msgr. Sullivan studied for the priesthood at St. Maryís Seminary and University in Baltimore and was ordained a priest June 18, 1977, by Bishop Flanagan in St. Paul Cathedral.
He was named associate pastor at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish July 8, 1977. From 1979 to 1984 he served as associate director of the diocesan Office of Religious Education, specializing in adult education, and was the director of the South County Religious Education office.
Msgr. served as associate pastor at St. Luke the Evangelist Parish, Westboro, and St. Maryís and Our Lady of the Rosary parishes, Spencer.
In June 1990, he was appointed headmaster of St. Bernardís Central Catholic High School in Fitchburg and was in residence at St. Bernardís and at St. Richard of Chichester, Sterling. In 1995, Bishop Reilly named him diocesan director of vocations and secretary to the bishop. He was named chancellor in 1998. He continued as director of vocations until 2005.
He was named a monsignor by Pope John Paul II in 2001. He was administrator of St. Bernadette Parish in Northboro from April 2002 until August 2003.
Father David E Doiron was born on November 3, 1943 in Gardner, MA., the son of Alphonse and Evangeline (Goguen) Doiron.
He attended Cornwall Classical College in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada from 1957 to 1963. He studied for the priesthood at the Seminary of Philosophy in Montreal from 1963 to 1965 and at the University at Louvain, Belgium from 1965 to 1969.
He served as temporary associate pastor at St. Roch's Parish, Oxford, before being named associate pastor at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Worcester, where he served from 1969 to 1975. He was named to the diocesan Tribunal as Pro-Synodal judge on November 5, 1974 and served in the Tribunal until 1982. He also served as temporary associate pastor at St. Anne Parish, Manchaug from February 1 to July 1 1978.
he obtained his Doctor of Ministry degree in Psychology in 1981 from Andover-Newton Theological Seminary and was licensed in Psychology in 1983.
Fr. David worked as a priest-therapist at the House of Affirmation in Whitinsville from 1983 to 1986. He was named clinical director of the Worcester Pastoral counseling Center on June 1, 1982. He was named pastor of St. Columba Parish in Paxton on June 30, 2007 while continuing at the Counseling Center.