José Maria Bettencourt e Ávila

Summary of Case:

: 11/16/06
Birthplace: Rosais, São Jorge, Azores; attended high school on Terceira in the Azores
Ordained: 6/14/30
Seminary: St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore MD
Incardinated: Fall River MA
Retired: 1988
Died: 11/3/88


Start Stop Parish/Other Assignment Town State Position Comment
6/13/30 10/33 St. Anthony's Taunton MA Assistant  
10/33 9/27/37 Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception New Bedford MA Assistant  
9/27/37 1938 Catholic University Washington DC Advanced studies MA degree
1938 1943 Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception New Bedford MA Assistant  
1943 12/43 Our Lady of Health Fall River MA   Ávila is listed continuously at Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in CDs 1938-44, but his 12/43 transfer is reported in Standard-Times 12/7/43, and his presence at Our Lady of Health is reported in an obit Standard-Times 11/5/88.
12/43 9/44 Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception New Bedford MA Assistant  
9/44 5/64 St. Anthony's East Falmouth MA Administrator Ávila is accused of raping at least one boy and abusing others while at St. Anthony's. Gilbert Simões is accused of being involved in these activities, even before he was ordained.
5/64 1/74 Our Lady of Mount Carmel New Bedford MA Pastor Fr. Gilbert Simões served under Ávila here 1965-71; they are accused of abusing boys together during this period. The diocese has settled at least one such case.
1974 1976       Retired Listed in CD as residing in the Azores.
1976 11/3/88       Retired Listed in the CD with the address P.O. Box 706, Falmouth 03541. Ávila died at the Rose Hawthorne Lathrop Home and is buried in the so-called Clergy Burial Grounds in the diocesan cemetery behind St. Anthony's in East Falmouth. The stone describes Avila as "Third Pastor of St. Anthony's Church," though he was always listed as "administrator" in the CDs.

Source: Catholic Directories, supplemented from articles in the Standard-Times. Ávila's tenure at Our Lady of Health in New Bedford is unclear. No CD lists him as being there, but an article in the Standard-Times 12/7/43 describes him as being transferred by Bishop Cassidy from Our Lady of Health to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. But another article in the Standard-Times 5/8/63 describes Ávila as having been "an assistant at Immaculate Conception Church from 1933 to 1937 and again in 1943-44." Status: CDs, newspaper stories, and Ávila's gravestone have been cross-checked by staff. We are working to clarify the situation at Our Lady of Health.

Notes: An obituary in the Standard-Times 11/5/88 states that Ávila studied at Harvard University but does not say when.