To the Editor:
On a hot July 1, Father Bob Rochon walked his last walk down the aisle of the 102 year old St. Brigid’s church on 1231 Plainfield St. in Johnston. It was the official closing date of the beloved church and the official retirement date of the beloved Priest Father Bob Rochon who has been pastor there for 15 years.
Father Bob’s last sermon was filled with a spiritual message of peace, hope and love. There wasn’t a dry eye in the packed small church, at times Father Bob could barely keep his composure. St. Bridget’s was not just another church, it flourished under the guidance of Father Bob, who brought together families in the close knit Pocasset community and surrounding cities and towns.
Everyone was accepted no matter what. It was always known as a poor little parish compared to some of the other larger more affluent churches, but St. Brigids stood alone, it was rich in acceptance, compassion, sincerity and love for our fellow neighbors. For many parishioners who not only went to mass every day, but also volunteered on many of the parish committees, St. Brigid’s was their family.
One committee person is Louisa Iannotti who started and chaired the Social Ministry and other committees for many years. She later passed the torch on to me, where I continued the work up to the closing of the church. The dedicated Social Ministries committee members included Louisa Iannotti, Cindy Galipeau, who chaired the yearly family bowling and the 100 anniversary outdoor mass at Goddard Park, Angela Pecchia, the late Anna Richards who were the bakers for all the events. Rose DeLuca, Josie Gemma, also bakers, Doris Haskins, Angela Fillipone, Sandy McCarthy, Sandy Cerrito, Nadine Corona, and Kathy Maccarone. Let’s not forget Carol Marrocco who was a staple at every event helping where ever she was needed. Carol also taught the religious classes along with Jean Cedar.
St. Brigid also had a yearly craft fair chaired by Fran Wilkie and her committee. The 30 week club chaired by Richard Bohem, and his committee, Cindy Pagliaro, Louisa Iannotti, Sandy McCarthy, Doris Haskins, Frank Di Raimo and retired committee member Mike Izzo. The prayer shawl committee chaired by Ursula Zarrella, and her committee, Josie Gemma, Norma Medici and others.
This small parish made such a huge difference to so many people in the community and will be sadly missed. The parishioners gave a good fight to keep the church open but unfortunately were over ruled by the Diocese. So as they say, life will go on and so will the parishioners just in a different way but they will always be proud to say “we are parishioners and always will be parishioners of St. Brigid’s Church on 1231 Plainfield Street in Johnston.”
Some will join other churches, some will shop around, and some may never go back to the Catholic Church. St. Brigid’s was like Cheers, we belonged to a parish where everyone knew your name, you were not just a number or a budget envelope you were family. Unfortunately that will never be again.
Your parishioners want to thank you Father Bob, they wish you health and happiness in your new role as a retiree, and they know you will continue to be an inspiration to all. Enjoy and remember “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” You certainty took their breath away. Good luck and God Bless!