Father Taillon embraces new ministry as interim vocations director for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA


NARRAGANSETT — During Mass in the Easter Season, it is not uncommon to read passages from Acts of the Apostles, which describe the ministry of the early Church. Such readings often emphasize how the joy of the Resurrection of Our Lord leads to a renewed commitment to spreading the Gospel no matter where it leads us.
Such is the case with Father Marcel Taillon, pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Narragansett. On Saturday, April 7, many gathered at St. Veronica’s Chapel for Mass to offer prayers for Father Taillon as he prepares for his new role as interim vocations director for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA.
The Archdiocese for the Military Services was created by Pope Saint John Paul II to provide the Catholic Church’s full range of pastoral ministries and spiritual services to those in the United States Armed Forces. The Archdiocese is responsible for more than 1.8 million men, women, and children, as well as military chaplains, over whom it has jurisdiction.
While Father Taillon has been devoted to pastoral ministry in the Diocese of Providence, his work with the Archdiocese of Military Services is not his first foray into the civic realm. Father Taillon has deep ties with local civil authorities, having also served as the chaplain of the Narragansett and South Kingston police departments and the Narragansett Fire Department.
Members of the Narragansett Police Department were in attendance, greeting those present at the door and participating in the Mass.
“We love Father Taillon. He’s been a big part of our lives since he came here, but we know he’s going to do great [with the Military Archdiocese],” said Narragansett Police Chief Sean Corrigan, a parishioner at St. Thomas More. “He’s been a big part of my life in particular, growing up in this parish, and now working with the police,” said Vincent Santos, a patrolman for the Narragansett Police Department, and a parishioner.
The day’s events were filled with emotion. Father Taillon has served the parish as pastor since 1997 and “I remember pulling into the parking lot the first day of becoming the pastor. It was a very lonely experience,” Father Taillon said during his homily. “I wasn’t sure what the Lord was doing. But today, I stand in awe of the wisdom of Jesus, and the love He had for me in calling me to be your pastor, your shepherd.”
“I’ve been reflecting in thanksgiving, which is what the Eucharist means, on all the graces, certainly, that I received being blessed to walk with you, by your side, by your beds and by your tears of joy and sadness,” Father Taillon continued, going on to reflect — often with tears in his eyes — on the many lessons he’s learned while serving as pastor.
Father Taillon celebrated Holy Mass with Father Joseph Mappilamattel, C.M.I., assistant pastor, Msgr. John C. Halloran, pastor emeritus, Father John E. Unsworth, parochial administrator during Father Taillon’s absence, and Father Christopher Murphy, the rector of Our Lady of Providence Seminary, concelebrating. After Mass, Msgr. Halloran presented Father Taillon with a painting he made of Christ carrying his Cross to Calvary with the inscription “Christus Victor Salvator” (“Christ the Victorious Savior”).
“He’s been a great pastor,” said Jean Winward, parishioner of St. Thomas More. “He’s there when you need him, he’ll come and help you.”
Although Father Taillon’s assignment with the Military Archdiocese is only temporary, as he will return to his home parish at the end of this year, the day’s events were nonetheless bittersweet.
“I think today was a day of great joy and gratitude, and obviously tears that come from love. I love this parish and the people, and am just overwhelmed with what Jesus called us,” Father Taillon said to the Rhode Island Catholic. “But I also feel called to this mission, this mission to the soldiers.”