Deacon John S. Shea


RICHMOND — Deacon John S. Shea, 81, of Richmond, a member of the Permanent Diaconate for the Diocese of Providence, passed away on Wednesday, June 3 after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Catherine (Mumford) Shea. He was the son of the late Sylvester E. and Mary E. (Pasukinnis) Shea of Worcester, born on December 30,1938.

In the weeks before his passing, and the day before he passed away, all family members, good friends, plus members of the Permanent Diaconate surrounded his bed to reminisce about their internships, childhoods, Deacon formation, ordination, retreats, vacations and the three years of study at Providence College.

He is also survived by five children: his son, Kyle and his wife, Donna; his daughter, Colleen Bongiovanni and James Glaude; his son, Colin and Amy Marcus, his son, Peter and Lorri McGrath, and his son, Matthew, and his wife, Tricia. Thirteen grandchildren: Danielle Coco and her husband, Derek; Caitlyn Shea and her fiancé, Brett Pittera; Ryan Bongiovanni and Melissa Loven; Nicole Bongiovanni and Christopher Carson; Gregory Bluestein, his wife and family; Ian T. Shea; Adam C. Shea; Emily E. Shea and Kevin Esperance; H. Rose O’Brien and her husband, Jason; Paula M. Shea; Kylie H. Shea; Jacob M. Shea, and Breana L. Sironen and her husband, Steven. Also, eight great grandchildren; Eliana Shea, Amaya Shea; Kelvin Esperance, Makaela and Maddison Coco, David Krahn III, Zane and Evelyn O’Brien.

Deacon Shea graduated from St. Stephen’s High School in Worcester, Mass. in 1956. Following his graduation, he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard where he served for two years on the Castlerock out of Boston, followed by two years in aviation doing search and rescue from Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. He received an ASEE degree from Franklin Institute of Boston, a BSIE degree from Merrimack College, he attended evening courses at the University of New Hampshire, received a certificate from the Ministry Institute and a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies from Providence College in 2003. He was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate on October 19, 2002 by Bishop Robert McManus.

Before his ordination, he was employed as an Electrical Engineer by Raytheon Corp., Mohawk Data Sciences, and retired in 2002 from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport.

Prior to his ordination, he would help out at a weekly Mass at South County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Rte. 4. He also brought the Eucharist around to the rooms for those who could not attend Mass.

After his retirement from engineering and after Ordination, he and Catherine were assigned to St. Mary’s/St. James Parish in Carolina and Charlestown, where he served on the altar for Father David Green and then for Father Paul Desmarais.

Over the last eighteen years, he and Catherine were assigned to give a Lenten Mission on Redemptive Suffering, to teach an adult course at the Parish Education Program on the bible, to teach RCIA for those wishing to become Catholic and a bi-weekly bible study after Mass at St. James Chapel.

In addition, one of their greatest joys was to visit the homebound of the parish, and to do a communion service at an independent living center in Westerly. He also did a communion service at St. Elizabeth’s Home in East Greenwich every other week for 10 years.

Visiting hours will be from 4-7 pm on Tuesday, June 9 at St. James Chapel, 2079 Matunuck Schoolhouse Road, Charlestown. The funeral Mass and burial with military honors will be private. A memorial service will be held at a later date. 

In lieu of flowers donations in his name may be made to HopeHealth Hospice, 1085 North Main St, Providence, RI, 02904. 

For guest book and condolences,


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment