Worcester Telegram & Gazette [Worcester MA]
November 18, 2021
By Craig S. Semon
Bishop Robert J. McManus announced Thursday that Ronald D. Provost has been laicized.
In 1993, Provost was convicted in Worcester Superior Court of soliciting a child to pose nude and received a suspended prison sentence with probation. He was found guilty of taking semi-nude photographs of a 10-year-old boy in 1992 in the locker room of a pool in Gardner.
Provost, who was pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Barre when the photographs were taken, was removed from any active ministry in the diocese when the picture-taking allegations surfaced.
A Worcester native, Provost was ordained in 1970 and served in the following parishes: St. Rose of Lima, Northborough, St. Camillus de Lellis, Fitchburg, St. Mary, Southbridge, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Winchendon, St. Bernard, Fitchburg, St. Peter, Worcester, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel-St. Ann, Worcester, St, Anthony, Fitchburg. St. Vincent Hospital chaplain, Holy Angels, Upton, St. Joseph Parish, Barre and St. Augustine Mission, Wheelwright.
Provost was dismissed from the clerical state by the Holy Father, Pope Francis.
As a result of the laicization, Provost may never function in any capacity as a priest or be referred to as a priest or as “Father” in writing such as in future obituaries.
“It continues to be my fervent prayer that Christ may bring healing and hope to anyone who has been abused by anyone in the Catholic Church,” Bishop McManus said.
Bishop McManus encourages anyone in need of pastoral assistance as a result of clerical abuse to contact the diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator in the Office of Healing and Prevention by calling (508) 929-4363.ADVERTISING
“As Pope Francis wrote to the Episcopal Conferences throughout the world in February 2015, ‘everything possible must be done to rid the church of the scourge of the sexual abuse of minors and to open pathways of reconciliation and healing for those who were abused,’” Bishop McManus said.
In a related announcement, the Diocese of Worcester was found compliant in the national compliance audit in 2021 regarding the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
In the year ending June 2021, it reported having received four new reports of abuse, all of which occurred prior to 1981, and has had ongoing contact with 14 victims and their families who made reports prior to July 2020.
In 2014 the diocese implemented online training in collaboration with Dallas Child Advocacy Center for all employees and volunteers to recognize the signs and symptoms of child abuse.
The diocese has processed 2,091 background checks and renewals over the past year for ordained and lay employees and volunteers which is another example of how it has been fully supportive of the commitment toward the safety of children in its care.
The Diocesan Review Board meets regularly to review cases brought forward from victims of abuse, as well as concerns involved in the ongoing support of victims and their families who have come forward over the years.