Distinguished Priests: Background
in the Official Catholic Directory
Gilbert J. Simões came to Our Lady of Mount Carmel
in New Bedford from St. Michael's parish in Fall River (see picture,
with school to the left), where his pastor was none other than Humberto
S. Medeiros, then chancellor of the Fall River diocese and a future
cardinal. Ávila had come to the New Bedford parish a year
earlier, after the death of the 98-year-old pastor, Rt. Rev. Msgr.
Antonio Pacheco Vieira, the "patriarch of priests of the United
States," according to Cardinal Cushing.
The presence of these two eminent priests in the Ávila story shows
why the background of a transfer can be important, especially if the transfer
is a surprising one.
As usual, the evidence in the Official Catholic Directory is
simple and understated. In 1965 (the year before Simões is reported
at Our Lady of Mount Carmel) the Official Catholic Directory
places him as follows:
Another Portuguese parish, and another parish school. Further research
would show that Simões began his life as a priest with Medeiros
at St. Michael's. And the Official Catholic Directory shows Medeiros's
significance with a little entry at the beginning of the Fall River pages,
in the 1964 edition and other editions as well:
From this lofty post, Medeiros supervised the transfers of Ávila
and Simões to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, after the death of the
old pastor Vieira, whose last year as pastor is logged in the 1964 Official
and whose death is recorded in the 1965 Official Catholic Directory,
in the "Necrology" section of the Fall River pages:
Doing a Google search of the local newspapers turns up an article
about Vieira and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, explaining how important the
old pastor was in the life of the Portuguese Catholic community.
How was such a man replaced by Ávila, an alleged abuser who was
reportedly removed from his previous appointment in East Falmouth because
parents had written to the diocese to complain of abuses? How was it that
Simões, Ávila's protégé and alleged fellow
abuser, was sent to join him at Our Lady of Mount Carmel? The future Cardinal
Medeiros must have played a central role in these bizarre assignments,
as chancellor and as the diocese's senior priest from the Portuguese community.
What did Medeiros know about Ávila and Simões, and about
the likelihood that they would reoffend?
For as we shall see in the next article, reoffend they allegedly did.
By that time, Medeiros had been made bishop of Brownsville TX.
Links to the entire Guide:
1. How to Create
a Assignment Record in a Few Easy Steps
2. Last Year at
St. Anthony's: Looking Up a Priest in the Official Catholic Directory
2a. Are There
Gaps in the Parish Records of the Official Catholic Directory?
3. Parish School
and Festival: Transfers in the Official Catholic Directory
Priests: Background in the Official Catholic Directory
Burial Grounds: Retirement and Death in the Official Catholic Directory
6. Heal the Sick:
Chaplains and Treatment in the Official Catholic Directory