Meet the Flock – Rita Tamulonis

“Meet the Flock” — Rita Tamulonis

Rita Tamulonis is a treasure trove of love and wisdom through the ages. She is our parish’s cherished keepsake. And, as is the case with all precious heirlooms, they unlock “secrets” of the past to teach lessons for the future. So, too, does our Rita.
Born December 15, 1918, a month after the Armistice agreement was signed (the document that officially ended World War I), Rita, at now 100-years-young, holds keen, eyewitness knowledge of a century’s worth of historical significance for all who wish to listen and learn. She recalls the stock market crash of 1929: “My parents lost their savings. I remember standing in line with them at the bank.” Then, there’s the aviator, Charles Lindbergh, his historic flight overseas, and the kidnapping and murder of his son: “He flew his plane over Lowell where I lived on his way to Paris. And, oh, I remember seeing the Boston Advertiser magazine covers about his son everywhere.” And, then, of course, there’s World War II: “I remember the ration books for sugar, flour, and butter.” We can all learn from the history of time.

That is a true statement. There are many important, good and bad newsworthy events that took place throughout Rita’s lifetime, ones that she experienced on a firsthand basis. And, they all can teach. But, it is not only those event-filled happenings over the decades that contain history lessons for us all, but, rather, it is her past that holds the hidden one or two “secrets” (or maybe even as much as 7) that hold the more important spiritual knowledge. In fact, her entire lifespan, at every juncture, teaches us all how to age with grace, by way of faith and devotion to the love of God. You may wonder, why the #7? Well, during the course of my interviews with Rita, she generously gifted me an extra copy of a book she had ordered entitled: “The 7 Secrets of Divine Mercy” by Vinny Flynn. That’s the type of book she reads. And, it is that book, that gift, which provided the inspiration for me to realize that Rita’s life story holds secrets, as well.
As for the main secret that she is frequently asked about, the one that would offer the key to unlock the mystery as to what to attribute her 100-year longevity…that one, she cannot answer in one simple sentence. In my opinion, it takes a lot more than a one-sentence synopsis. To that question, though, she gives her sweet characteristic little laugh, “If there’s a secret, it’s a secret to me!” Then, she adds, “I never smoked, never went on a diet, no drinking a lot of water, had whole milk. I just went along.” And, she does just that to this day, as Rita is a marvel at 100.
Imagine…she still drives! (Locally, that is). “I passed the test with flying colors,” she beams. She has an account on Facebook! She has The Holy Rosary with Mother Angelica (the EWTN nun) downloaded onto her computer, so she can recite it along with her and the nuns of the monastery! Rita does her own laundry! She completes her own light housekeeping and cooking! (Breakfast consists. alternately of oatmeal one day and an egg on toast the next). She drinks a cup of coffee only every other day. She performs her own personal hygiene (something most elderly need assistance to complete at her age). She keeps her mind sharp with word jumble puzzles and reads voraciously, sometimes even without glasses! Oh, one little trivial secret I found out about Rita—she’s not particularly fond of chocolate! These are just a few of the lesser known things about her present, everyday life that I discovered during our talks. However, if you take a stroll with me throughout the chronicle of her life as outlined below, you will, perhaps, glean even more insight, and maybe uncover for yourself the 7-or-so more “secrets” that I spoke of earlier.
(Secret #1: Lessons in her ancestry and early years): Rita was born in Nashua, NH, as mentioned, on December 15, 1918. She is the eldest of her parents union: (Rita, Ruth, and Clare), all the children of Ann and John, both Lithuanian immigrants. Her parents arrived separately from Lithuania to America. They did not speak English, but learned the language, customs, and soon became citizens. The household was one of rented rooms to immigrants for 50 cents to $1 a week. Water closets (the toilets) were built as just that, closets, under the stairways, and shared with the tenants between the floors of the residence. Children bathed in aluminum tubs between chairs on Saturday nights, just to be squeaky clean for church on Sundays. It was a time when every little girl dressed accordingly for that, she said, “You wore a hat, you had gloves, you had a little pocketbook, and special shoes.” The family had moved to Lowell after Nashua, so her father could open a barber shop. Their rented house was in a courtyard. Rita continues, “All roads, not just ours, were lined with lanterns that required the job of a lamplighter to come and light the lanterns with oil on a nightly basis to illuminate the streets.” During the day, however, Rita walked those same streets on her way to her elementary schools—and church. (My take on the secret here: Parents, take heed: getting your kids to school—and church—matters, no matter the hardship. It will pay-off in the future.)
(Secret #2: Lessons in education): As the family’s parish did not offer parochial school instruction, she then attended public schools in Lowell from grades 1-9: The Lakeview Avenue School from first grade to the third. It is important here to note that Rita, the child of Lithuanian immigrants, did not speak English until she got to the first grade. (FYI: For fun, as a young child, Rita played a Lithuanian board game, similar to Chutes-and-Ladders, with ladders of charity leading up, and chutes of penance, well…down. The game itself is illustrated strictly in Lithuanian. It is called Dangus, which translates to the English word as the game of Heaven. She still has it to this day! It is all worn and tattered.) Continuing on in her education, she attended the local Moody School from grades 4-9. She later went away to a boarding-school-high-school, St. Francis Academy in Pittsburgh, PA, where tuition with room and board was a whopping $20 per month. She was taught there by Lithuanian nuns. After receiving a scholarship, she left to attend the University of Detroit in Michigan, when, in 1938, she received her teaching degree. She came home during the depression and took a job in the woolen mill in Dracut, MA for all of $12 a week! She worked there for only about a year, turning over the large majority of her earnings to her mother, as was commonplace in those days. (My take on the secret here: Keep and honor the 4th commandment.)
(Secret #3: Lessons within Marriage): Word from a family friend had filtered out that she had returned to the Lowell area, and Rita’s secret admirer, a gentleman named Walter Tamulonis, knocked on her door. They began dating and within a year were married in St. Joseph’s Church in Lowell in 1941. (FYI: Her husband was a graduate of St. Anselm’s College.) Anyway, when first married, they rented an apartment in Bennington, VT. Later on, he worked for American Locomotive in Schenectady, NY, and then they moved into an apartment in Amsterdam, NY. Much later in married life, after all her six children (1 girl and 5 boys) were born, Rita kept busy being a good wife and mother. She did lots of cooking when the whole family was together. She explains: “I always made meals for 8 every day. Families always came down to eat with each other, and kids always came home for meals.” When her eldest child, Ann, went to kindergarten, Rita returned to her educational background and went back to work as a teacher. Rita’s mother, who lived two doors down from them, helped watch the children during that endeavor. (My take on the secret here: Family sticks together; meals shared as a family are important!)
(Secret #4: Lessons from the teacher, A.K.A., Miss Black): Around the time of 1949, married women could not be appointed as a teacher in a school system, “You had to be a permanent sub.” Therefore, she took that position as a sub for a year at the Middlesex Village School in Lowell, making $10 a day with absolutely no benefits to teach an entire class of children. It seemed there was a color-pattern of names of the teachers there at that school: Miss White (kindergarten), and Miss Brown (first grade). When Rita filled in for Miss Brown, who was out sick with arthritis, she didn’t want to confuse the kids with them learning the long name of Tamulonis, so she called herself Miss Black! When Miss Brown didn’t return, the name, Miss Black, stuck. She stayed with that alias, Miss Black, for the rest of the school year. Later, thinking that she would make more money in a different field, she left teaching to work at Raytheon in Cost Accounting, where she handled the ledger and spreadsheets. But, after 3 years of traveling and wear-and-tear on the car, she realized it wasn’t worth it, and she returned to her true love, teaching. She continued to teach at various schools in Lowell, and to differing grade levels.” She even taught Title I and pupils with learning disabilities, long before people knew how to best help them, or even what caused their problems. So, she researched the subject herself at the library. “Two of them had eye problems,” she discovered. But, she says, “The nicest feeling for a teacher is that by Christmas the children are reading, and by June, they were reading 2 books!) Recently, some of Rita’s first grade parents (and pupils) have looked her up in Lincoln, and knocked on her door. “That touched me,” she points to her heart, “It really touches me.” (FYI: In 1965, Rita took the exam for married women to become appointed when it opened up for them—she passed.) Rita continued to teach in the Lowell school system until she retired at the end of 1978. (My take on the secret here: You never know the impact you make on someone’s life.)
(Secret #5: Lessons from the Retirement Years): On January 9, 1979, Rita was the guest of honor at her retirement party. The time had come now for Walter and her to enjoy life together. For years, they had been residing as a family in what she called “The Big House” in Lowell, MA. She explains, “After selling that, we bought a place in Gilford and a place in Florida in Tampa, and then at Pinellas Park.” They went back and forth for 18 years, but Rita, didn’t really like it in Florida due to the heat. Nevertheless, she made the best of it, availing herself of the many courses for seniors taught there. The tables now reversed, Rita became the pupil. She took many craft classes: knitting, quilting, crocheting, macramé, tatting, and ceramics. She continued to keep busy doing all this and traveling back and forth to Florida until the day Walter surprised her, saying, “Let’s go back home.” That’s when they moved back to the area to be near relatives. They then purchased the mobile home on the lot where she has lived for the past 22 years. “When I came to Lincoln, I felt welcome, and I felt very much at home, finally.” (My take on the secret here: Sometimes you sacrifice for your spouse, make the best of it. Keep busy. Keep learning.)
(Secret #6: Lessons from Loss): It was only 5 weeks upon returning to Lincoln when tragedy struck. Her beloved husband, Walter, had a heart attack, right in the kitchen of their new abode. It was all a devastating haze to Rita. Yet, she picked up the pieces of her life and carried on in Rita’s typical way of strength through faith: “God had a plan for me.” She needed to rely on that faith again when she encountered the loss of her eldest son on 9-11-2017. He had COPD and passed away in the backyard, again, right here in Lincoln. Rita continues to have her own health challenges, losing some of her physical vitality due to growing older. She still walks surprisingly fluidly, in spite of her physical ailments. They do not stop her. She still can’t believe she is 100-years-old. “My Dad died at 69 and my mother at 88,” she ponders. Her two sisters have also passed on. She gets help these days from her “choir of angels,” as she calls them. Her son, Mike, Rita’s other children, and extended family members help her out on a regular basis by visiting, delivering meals, fixing things around the house, or calling with reminders for her to take her medication, etc. At present tally, she has 20 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren and 2 great, great grandchildren. Between all of them, she pretty much has an “expert” in just about any and all professional fields. However, she remains as independent as possible, relying on local friends to help her in a pinch too. (My take on the secret here: It is true, you can get by with a little help from your friends (and family). Be thankful for your “choir of angels.”)
(Secret #7: Lessons from Rita’s Spirituality): This last secret, I believe, defines Rita Tamulonis, and may just hold the key to her longevity. She credits so much power to prayer. “It’s proven to me as I went along that prayer matters. It’s our survival kit. God takes care of us, I found that out, I have little miracles that happen almost every day.” Rita adds, “Talk to God about it. I always say, ‘God, I’m asking.’” Every day Rita prays the Rosary. As mentioned earlier, she recites the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at anytime during the day that she remembers. (She can talk at length about St. Faustina and the famous painting of Our Lord.) Her favorite prayer is For the Virtue of Faith, which seeks out enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. She faithfully attends church weekly and Adoration every Wednesday here at St. Joseph’s, missing only twice in 12 years! (FYI: A little story, actually: About 7 years ago, after a long day with friends at the Community Center, playing cards, etc, Rita drove her last friend home who lived near St. Joseph’s church. She, on the spur-of-the-moment, decided to pay a quick visit to the Blessed Sacrament. But, it was a Wednesday, and Rita’s assigned day for Eucharistic Adoration was a Monday. A woman, who had already been there for 1-1/2 hours who was alone in the church, left abruptly upon Rita’s arrival, thinking that Rita was her “adorer” replacement. Now, Rita was alone in the church. She didn’t want to leave the Blessed Sacrament alone, so, she sat, walked around, lit a candle, talked to God, and repeated that routine until she sat down some more, and…well, after being very tired from the long day, ended up dozing off in the pew! At around 6 o’clock, Fr. John, pastor at the time, arrived with some church workers. He tapped her on the shoulder and said, “Are you all right?” She jumped! Rita had been there for about 2 hours herself! “You see, it wasn’t my time to be there,” she said, “but I think either myself or Fr. John (Rita can’t exactly recall) gave me the nickname: ‘The Sleeping Disciple,’ Peter, James, John…and I was the fourth!”) Cute story, right? It perfectly illustrates Rita’s devotion to Jesus, as she didn’t want Him to be exposed and alone in the church. Her eyes twinkle and she beams excitedly as she recalls a picture she once found of Jesus on the Internet: “He was in a purple robe, stooping down, and I thought to myself, “Now, that is what Jesus looks like.” Even more profoundly, Rita points out a lesson here for us all: “Think about it…Christ was born 2,000 years ago. Take 20 people at 100 years, and that’s me. That isn’t long. I’m one of the 100 years. One might think Christ is so far removed, but he’s only 20 people removed…only 20 people. They can fit right here in this room.” (My take on the secret here: This is a very important and powerful lesson for Rita to teach us: Jesus is closer to us than we think.)

Yes, that’s our Rita, she is and always will be a teacher. Her entire life is a lesson for all those who are willing to learn from the past for the sake of the future. Actually, it’s precisely that which concerns her. “Technology is moving too fast. Kids today have relationships with little boxes. Friends text each other instead of talking.” As for our country’s fate, “They took God out of everything,” she laments. She actually says she is glad she is at the tail-end of her life, as she worries for the future. As for hers, however, she continues to “keep plugging along” working her way up the ladder on the road to Dangus, reminiscent of the now worn and tattered board game still in her possession that she played with as a child. As you recall, the English translation of Dangus is: Heaven. That’s the end-game for Rita. She is optimistic she’ll get there: “I hope!” she giggles. Then, she thoughtfully muses, “I thank God He’s merciful.”

In closing, last April, Rita received the Boston Post Cane, a tradition started in 1903 by the newspaper, The Boston Post that bestows the ceremonial cane to a town’s oldest resident; Rita received it for being Lincoln’s. (My take on the secret here: Something tells me, she’ll never need any cane to reach Dangus.)
–by Denise Rush
Our Parish Keepsake: The Beautiful Rita Tamulonis
“A Treasure Through the Ages”

Happy 100th Birthday, Rita!!!


Faith Formation

Faith Formation News

This past Thursday, our Faith Formation students and Xena Bartlett (with the help of some adult chaperones!) visited with residents at Lincoln Green. We made cookies and lemonade to share with them and played some exciting rounds of Bingo! Everyone had a great time getting to know one another. We plan to visit many times this year and look forward to building many inter-generational friendships! The next Faith Formation Bake Sale is scheduled for Sunday, 11/18 before and after the 10:00 Mass by Corbin Ross and his family. Proceeds from the sales help to offset costs for our end-of-year field trip to LaSallette Shrine. Come check it out…and thanks for your support!

Trip to LaSalette Shrine


This week I will be away. I am going on my annual: “trip in the woods”, aka, “opening season”…lol. So, there will not be any daily Masses this week, however, Adoration will still take place on Wednesday. Please stop by and visit with the Lord. Next weekend, please welcome Fr. Paul Montminy as the celebrant at all the weekend Masses. He was Pastor of St. Catherine Parish in Manchester and currently resides at Immaculate Mary Parish in Nashua. He is a great priest and friend of mine.

There weren’t as many trick-or-treaters this year as in the past. The rainy weather may have scared them away along with N. Woodstock having trick-or-treating for the first time, in a long time. So, with fewer kids, it was a lot more manageable this year than in previous years.

Hope you can join me on “the Fun Bus” tour to Fr. Pat’s Christmas Concert! For $15, you can board the fun bus to La Salette Shrine in Enfield, NH to see the Christmas Lights display, and enjoy the concert. Sandwiches, Snacks, entertainment and beverages provided! Call the office for tickets or see me after Mass.

Check out our parish Capital Campaign mountain and see the progress we are making with our little hiking boots trekking steadily up the mountain to the top! Thank you to everyone who has made a pledge, and supported our parish!

May God continue to bless us and our little parish community here in the White Mountains!

Fr. Kneeland

Beware of Scam Email


It is exciting to know, a Saint, Pope Paul VI, newly Cannonized, celebrated Mass in our Church some 70 years ago, prior to him becoming the Pope. We now have a close special connection to a Saint besides our patron Saint, Joseph, to pray for God’s help and protection.

The Knights of Columbus Council is sponsoring a parish bus trip to visit the La Salette Shrine in Enfield, NH on Saturday, December 1st. We will see the Christmas lights. Come and enjoy a Christmas concert with Fr. Pat. Snacks and entertainment are provided. $15 a ticket for a seat, space is limited to 50. Please call the rectory office.

Please help support the parish by buying or selling the Big Raffle Tickets. Ten bucks gets you a ticket for a chance to win a Grand. Please visit the table after Mass or call the office for more details. Winning ticket will be drawn at the Christmas Festival, December 8th, and you don’t have to be present to win.
The Christmas Dinner Festival committee is hard at work, putting together a family fun parish event for us. The menu will be roast beef dinner, with homemade gravy, chicken fingers, homemade mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, homemade mac ‘n cheese, dinner rolls, salad, cake, and coffee all for $10 (kids 8 years and under are free). Santa will join us and we will have raffles. Which reminds me, please consider donating toward the raffle NEW items any price, gift cards from your favorite food/gas/shopping/restaurant establishment, or handmade items. Please drop it off at the office. Much appreciated!

Remember, there is a scam e-mail in my name going around asking for itunes gift cards. Please disregard them and erase it. This is spam. If I ask for anything from you, it certainly wouldn’t be itunes cards, but soft chewy brownies! Haha!

May God continue to bless us and our Church here in the White Mountains!

Fr. Kneeland

Faith Formation

Faith Formation

Thank you to the Parish Council and all the Faith Formation students/families who donated food for Father Pat’s reception and/or who helped with set up, meet and greet, and clean up. Special thanks to Maisie, Camden, and Ian Anderson, Max Whitman, Paige McAfee, and Corbin Ross. Having you help with and participate in Father Pat’s Healing Mass was very special!

The Bake Sale scheduled for this weekend has been
re-scheduled…stay tuned!
Thanks for all your continued support and prayers!

St Pope Paul VI


Two weeks ago, on October 14, Pope Francis canonized two saints, Oscar Romero and Pope Paul VI. Our parish has a special connection with newly sainted, Pope Paul VI. Before he became Pope, then, ArchBishop Giovanni Montini, was a diplomat of the Holy See. While traveling from Boston to Montreal on business, the soon to become Pope, now Saint, stopped here at St. Joseph’s in Lincoln, NH for rest and to offer Mass. He celebrated Mass here right in our church! Saint Pope Paul VI, Pray For Us!

Notice a huge pumpkin in front of the church? It is “Mouse”, the 600 pound pumpkin! This massive pumpkin was grown under the watchful care of fellow parishioner, Fred Mehrmann. Thanks to Jimmy’s forklift, Fred has let “mouse” stay with us, on display in front of the church, until it will return to Fred’s garden. “Welcome Great Pumpkin!” Linus would be proud!

The Fr. Pat concert and Healing Mass was a huge success! It truly was a wonderful, Holy Spirit filled occasion! I counted 126 people in church! Thank you to Delia Sullivan, Paula King, David Paradis and everyone who made this event possible, and especially those who gave toward the delicious potluck dinner, which followed. May the Holy Spirit continue to bless us!

RCIA will be beginning soon, so please, if you are interested in learning more about the Catholic Faith, or would like to become Catholic, and enter into full Communion in the Church, let me know ASAP! We have three interested. Praise God!

May God continue to bless our little Catholic Church here in the White Mountains!

Fr. Kneeland

Faith Formation

Faith Formation Bake Sale

Thank you to everyone who supported our first Faith
Formation Bake Sale on Sunday, 10/14. We’re off to a great start in fundraising for our end-of-year field trip and celebration! The next bake sale will be next Sunday (10/28) before and after the 10:00 Mass. Patrick Duncan and his family will be hosting, so please be sure to stop by and get some goodies!

Healing Service & Concert


We are so excited to have Fr. Pat here, to celebrate a healing Service with a Concert at 2pm this Sunday, October 21st. Last time Fr. Pat was here, was five years ago when he performed an inspiring concert for us. Please join us and bring a friend. We can all use a healing!

Trick or Treating will be here soon! The town blocks off Church Street for the kids to flood the street, in search of treats. Please help us supply their wishes, by placing a free-will donation in the orange pumpkin bucket located near the podium in the church.
Thank You!

Next weekend, all E.M.’s, Lectors, Greeters, Ushers, Sacristans, Servers, and Collectors, please plan to stay a few minutes after Mass. After each Mass, I will hold a brief “refresher” meeting with all liturgical ministers/helpers during Mass.. There will be an attendance sheet passed around, so please be sure to sign it.

I had a good retreat last week with the monks at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, MA. And last Sunday, it was a joy blessing everyone’s pets in the church parking lot. May St. Francis look after them and keep them healthy, happy and safe!

May God continue to bless us and our parish community here, smack dab surrounded by the White Mountains.

Fr. Kneeland

Meet the Flock — Introducing Fr. Dave

by Denise Rush

Recently, an attempt to provide our parish with a “photographic yearbook” fell through after the company’s pricey and strict regulatory demands stopped its progress in its tracks. The thought then occurred to me that there had to be another alternative way to document and introduce “the flock” to each other. After all, this is our spiritual home and we, the members of St. Joseph Church, are its true support beams, upholding it in fellowship, both in the true physical and financial sense of the word. Therefore, after approaching Fr. Dave for his approval, I have volunteered my services to write a quarterly column entitled: “Meet the Flock-ers.” So, every 3-4 months, I will interview a parishioner who wishes to have a short biography printed about themselves placed either in the bulletin as a column, or as an inserted article within its pages. And, since, Fr. Dave is our pastor, I thought that it would only be proper for him to be featured as the first subject/guinea pig to be interviewed in my endeavor. With that said, let me introduce you to Fr. Dave Kneeland, “The Leader of the Flock”…

“A shoe polisher.” Yes, if chosen as the 13th apostle in the time of Our Lord, that is the task that Fr. Dave says he would do. “And, it wouldn’t be that bad of a job either, because they washed their feet a lot back then.” (Insert Fr. Dave’s hearty laughter here.) I have to say, I agree with his choice of what his profession would be when I posed the question to him during our interview session: “What would you do if you were alive during the time of Our Lord?” Though Fr. Dave was, of course, characteristically kidding around with his answer, I do think a shoe-shiner is probably the job he would be most suited for, and, certainly, one consistent with the well-known quoted sentiment of St. John the Baptist about the Messiah: “I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of His feet,.” Likewise, the hypothetical and future official “sandal-shiner” of the day, Fr. Dave, would have to possess the same unquestionable virtue of humility as well. Let’s face it, obviously, there’d be a lot of on-the-job humble kneeling at the feet of the “Big Boss” ascribed to that job description!

Personally, however, I think Fr. Dave’s better job choice would have been to serve his “ultimate employer” as our Lord’s opening act during the Sermon on the Mount. Fr. Dave would warm up the crowd with his sense of humor, get them to seriously pay attention, heap praise upon the “real star of the show,” and then disappear backstage behind a boulder as the unknown comic—the humble, but holy 13th apostle. (Cue here, Fr. Dave’s serious side to shine): “I want to bring souls to Christ,” he somberly states.

That pretty much describes the two sides of our Fr. Dave. Lucky for us, we get two priests rolled into one — a hysterically funny, joy-filled preacher and a seriously prayerful, never-seeking-self-praise pastor. “Maybe,” he jokes, “it’s because I’m a Gemini. My birthday is May 27th.”

Christened David Lee (“Roth,” he jokes here), he was raised in Lawrence, MA by his parents, Lorraine and Michael, along with his three older brothers, Mitch, Glenn, and John. “I was the baby…the baby whale!” (He wails in laughter at this comment.) Anyway, while tending to her boys in between housework, his Mom would watch TV’s Mother Angelica, the public television celebrity — who did have and still has — a following on the EWTN Catholic network. One of those followers was the child, known as the future, Father David. Mother Angelica was, in fact, his childhood idol. He roars with laughter at that, “It even cracks me up!” However, unbeknownst to that nun, and the many other Sisters of St. Anne’s who taught him throughout grammar school, they all profoundly influenced him on his chosen vocational path. Between their holy teachings and his Catholic upbringing, he heard “the one true voice” speak to him.

“It was during religious class in first or second grade. I felt like God asked if I would be one of his priests. We had a religious book open, and I almost had the feeling like He talked to me, like with a little picture of a priest holding up the Eucharist.”

That was how his calling began. “I thought I would rather have been an evangelist like Jimmy Swaggart, you know, some get their own plane and tour the world!,” He lets out a real hearty laugh at that one. “But,” he continues on in a spiritual tone, “it was very specific — would you be one of my priests? (Then, he quickly breaks into laughter before delivering his next punch line.) “I tried to avoid it ever since.”

And, that he did. After attending and graduating from Lawrence High School and Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, MA, he later studied to be a chiropractor, following in two of his brother’s footsteps, attending pre-requisite courses at Scott College and then graduating from Palmer Chiropractic College in Davenport, Iowa. “But,” he states in a heartfelt, serious manner, “God talked to my heart.” That’s when he enrolled years later in St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, MA, going on to his Deacon year in Exeter, NH, until becoming ordained in 2006. He was then assigned to two other parishes in Bedford and Rochester, NH, respectively, serving as Associate Pastor in each. Then God delivered him to our doorstep in the tiny town of Lincoln, NH as our spiritual leader. He enjoys it here. “I love my leather chair,” he jokes again. “No, seriously, I love the people, parish events, the White Mountains, celebrating Mass, and the community.” What he doesn’t love is the paperwork that comes with the job.

When he is not doing all of those paper-filled priestly duties, however, he can be found attending to his other loves. Eating is #1. He loves all food, particularly Arabic, and sweets — but it’s much easier to say what food he doesn’t like, that being string beans and waxed beans. “I eat mostly roasted vegetables lately.” He also loves music, not the rock ‘n’ roll of Van Halen or Ozzy Osborne that he listened to as a teen, but the much-loved hymns: Let All Mortal Flesh be Silent, Pange Lingua (the lyrics are attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas), Ave Maria, and, of course, Christmas carols, his favorite being What Child is This? As for bible verses, the one near and dear to his heart is: I am the Vine, You are the Branches. When it comes to TV, his preferred shows on PBS to watch are: The Brother Cadfael Mystery Series and the Fr. Brown Mystery Series. As for more popular shows, not on PBS, he likes Deadliest Catch, Alaskan Bush People, North Woods Law, or Survivor.

Fr. Dave could not survive, however, without his constant companion, Bear, his eight-year-old Border Collie/Mutt. He takes her for walks or she can be found just sitting by her master’s side at his feet in the parish rectory when Fr. Dave is at work or when praying. His most beloved prayer is one that he recites on a daily basis, and which, I feel exemplifies Fr. Dave’s humble nature. It is called The Litany of Humility by Rafael Cardinal Merry DelVal. In my opinion, one of those lines best describes Fr. Dave himself. It reads as you pray: “Jesus, grant me the grace that others may be praised, and I unnoticed.”

Although, you can’t help but notice the joy in Fr. Dave’s laughter, or be entertained by his sense of humor during his homilies, he never takes credit for himself. Any job that is accomplished within the parish, he credits to others. That pretty much describes who he is. And, those great gifts of his — jocularity and humility — do, indeed, help draw souls closer to Christ. In fact, some people may not realize the similarities between Fr. Dave and his favorite saint who also brought souls to Our Lord when he was alive — St. Lawrence of Rome. He, too, had a good sense of humor, and like Fr. Dave loved food. In fact, he is the patron saint of chefs and cooks. (How ironic!) St. Lawrence preached during Roman times and, when martyred on a gridiron, he proclaimed, “I am well done on this side, you can turn me over now.” See, even, he had two sides!

As you can now surmise, it is precisely those dual personality traits of the one-and-only, Fr. Dave, the opening act at our parish, who is working hard, trying his very best, using his grade-A material as he subtly, yet seriously and humbly, teaches us all as companions on the journey to salvation to have a little fun and a few laughs along the way. That is his comedic “shtick,” his signature style that he employs, all for the purpose to bring souls to Christ. We are the lucky ones to have him here, and I hope and pray that he is on the job in Lincoln for years to come. If not, there’s the other kind of soles he could work with…after all, he’d make a great shoe polisher!

Faith Formation Bake Sale

Faith Formation Bake Sale

Sunday, 10/14…before and after the 10:00 Mass

The Faith Formation students and their families will once again be holding bake sales throughout the year to finance a field trip in June. Last year, we had a wonderful time at LaSallette Shrine in Enfield, NH and look forward to making the pilgrimage an annual event. The first sale of the year will be hosted by Paige and Ryder McAfee and their parents this weekend. Thank you for your support…and enjoy the goodies!