Reverend Donald J. Bouressa


NARRAGANSETT — Reverend Donald J. Bouressa, 87, Pastor Emeritus of St. Mary, Star of the Sea Parish in Narragansett, Rhode Island, died Monday, October 15, 2018.

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, a son of the late Allen F. and Theresa B. (Finnigan) Bouressa, he attended Sacred Heart School, East Providence, and LaSalle Academy and Providence College, both in Providence. He served in the US Army in Germany prior to entering the seminary.

In preparation for the priesthood, he studied at St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, and was ordained a priest on May 27, 1961 at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul in Providence by Bishop Russell J. McVinney.

After a summer assignment at St. Clare Parish, Westerly, Father Bouressa was assistant pastor at Jesus Saviour Parish, Newport (1961-63). From 1963 to 1966, he made postgraduate studies at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, where he earned a doctorate in canon law (JCD). Upon his return to the Diocese in 1966, he was appointed Director of Our Lady of Peace Retreat House, Narragansett, and Promoter of Justice and Advocate for the Marriage Tribunal of the Diocese of Providence.

In 1973, he became Vice Chancellor of the Diocese, Vicar for Religious, Assistant to the Vicar for Canonical Affairs, and Defender of the Bond of the Tribunal, with residence at the Cathedral Rectory in Providence. The following year, he became Chancellor and in 1975, State Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus. Father also served on the Diocesan Building Commission and the Commission for Clergy Renewal.

Father Bouressa then served as administrator pro tem of St. Gregory the Great Parish, Warwick (1976), and of St. Mary, Star of the Sea Parish, Narragansett (1977). In 1978, he was appointed pastor of St. Mary, Star of the Sea and served there until June 2001 when he retired as Pastor Emeritus. In 1995, Father completed sabbatical studies at the North American College in Rome.

During retirement, he continued to assist at various parishes throughout the Diocese and at the Tribunal. In his final years, Father Bouressa provided sacramental ministry at the De LaSalle Christian Brothers Center in Narragansett, while residing there.

A Concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial was offered for the repose of his soul on October 19 at St. Mary, Star of the Sea Church, Narragansett with Bishop Thomas J. Tobin serving as the main celebrant and Father Bernard Healey, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish, East Greenwich, serving as the homilist. Bishop Louis E. Gelineau and other clergy concelebrated the funeral Mass. Burial was in Veterans Cemetery in Exeter.