Rev. Charles H. Downing


WEST WARWICK — The Reverend Charles H. Downing, 75, Pastor Emeritus of Saint Joseph Church, West Warwick, died October 13, 2015.

Born in Providence, R.I., son of the late Charles and Eleanor (O’Leary) Downing, he attended Assumption School and LaSalle Academy in Providence.

In preparation for the priesthood, he studied at Our Lady of Providence Seminary in Warwick, R.I., and at the American College in Louvain, Belgium. He was ordained a priest on June 26, 1965 in Louvain by Bishop Richard H. Ackerman.

After a summer assignment at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence, Father Downing served as part-time assistant pastor at Saint Gregory the Great Church in Warwick and teacher at Our Lady of Providence Seminary in Warwick (1965-70). In June 1970 he became a full time teacher at the Seminary in Providence. In July 1989 Father Downing was appointed pastor of Saint Joseph Church in West Warwick where he served until his retirement on July 1, 2012 as Pastor Emeritus.

In addition to his parochial duties, he served for two terms as Dean of Deanery V, Pawtuxet Valley and two terms on the Advisory Board for Ongoing Formation of Priests. During his years teaching at the seminary, he also assisted at various parishes in the South County area during the summer months. In 1990, he was appointed chaplain to Leona Circle #130, Daughters of Isabella.

A concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial was offered for the repose of his soul on October 19 at St. Joseph Church, West Warwick with Bishop Thomas J. Tobin as the main celebrant and Bishops Robert C. Evans, Louis E. Gelineau and other priests concelebrating. Rev. David Ricard, chaplain at Kent Hospital, was the homilist. Burial was at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Providence.