CRANSTON — This year the Catholic School Office, with the support of Bishop Tobin J. Tobin, selected Father William J. Ledoux, pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Cranston, for its annual recognition of a pastor with a parish school.
“Pastors with schools make great sacrifices and show selfless support for the care of the children, faculty and staff in their schools. Every pastor with a school in the Diocese of Providence could easily receive this recognition. But each year we single out one who is exceptional his support and dedication to Catholic education,” said Daniel J. Ferris, superintendent of Catholic Schools.
Father Ledoux received his recognition, including a letter of commendation from Bishop Tobin at a recent school Mass with the entire school communities as well as Father Ledoux’s family members.
In his remarks after Communion, Ferris noted Father Ledoux’s “fatherly” care for the school, adding that he who works hard but always has time for his family.
“He makes time for his children because they are so special to him,” said Ferris. “He simply loves being in the school.”
Ferris said the children can never miss when Father Ledoux is in the school. “You know when he’s in the school, right?” he asked the students. “Why? You hear his laughter of course?” Father Ledoux is well-known for his unmistakable laugh — all part of the joy that comes with his presence in the school.
In a letter supporting his nomination, Principal Lisa Lepore stressed his sacramental preparation for the students.
“He continually reminds the parishioners of the school’s mission, the value of St. Mary’s School and always encourages a Catholic Education. He even invites our students to participate in a monthly Sunday Mass in order to showcase them to the parish community.”
Father Ledoux’s recognition as Distinguished School Pastor was met with loud applause and a standing ovation. After Ferris spoke, two students, one representing the graduating eighth grade and the other representing the school’s student council, read prepared remarks praising the priest for his care for them and thanking him for his unwavering support for their school. Father Ledoux then took to the pulpit to thank the school community. He expressed his surprise and how humbling it was to be honored for what he loves so much.
Father Ledoux has spent his entire priesthood at a parish with a school. He was ordained in June of 1993, and began his priestly ministry as associate pastor at SS. John and Paul in Coventry, home to Fr. John V. Doyle School. From 1998 to 2004, he was assistant pastor St. Matthew Church in Cranston when St. Matthew School was still open. He was appointed pastor of St. Mary’s Church and school in Pawtucket from 2004-2013, and has been pastor of St. Mary’s in Cranston since 2013. Father Ledoux is a graduate of Woodlawn Academy and St. Raphael Academy, both in Pawtucket.