Rev. Thomas J. Powers

May 20, 2022

Rev. Thomas J. Powers

Rev. Thomas J. Powers – of  Woburn, Pastor of St. Barbara and St. Anthony Parishes, passed away peacefully, May 20th at the age of sixty-seven.  Beloved son of the late Robert H. and Helen I. (Reynolds) Powers of Lynn.  Cherished brother of Brian A. Powers, his wife Katherine Riggs of San Francisco, CA; Mary J. Powers, her partner Mary Campagnolo of Lynn, and Ann M. Powers Gallagher, her husband Richard P. Gallagher, Jr. of Reading. Very proud uncle of Natalia Powers Riggs, Aidan Powers Riggs, Caleb Gallagher and Catherine Gallagher. Fr. Powers is also survived by his dear aunts, uncles, cousins, as well as countless friends and parishioners.  A Funeral Mass will be Celebrated in St. Barbara Church, Friday, May 27th at 11 a.m.  Relatives, parishioners and friends are respectfully invited to calling hours in  St. Barbara Church, Thursday, May 26th from 2-7 p.m. Interment is private. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made in Rev. Thomas J. Powers memory to Catholic Relief Services 228 W. Lexington St. Baltimore, Maryland 21201-3443. Arrangements are under the direction of the Lynch-Cantillon-Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn, MA.

The Rev. Thomas J. Powers passed away peacefully on Friday, May 20, with his beloved family at his side.  He left us on the 27th anniversary of his ordination to the Catholic priesthood.  He has served in Woburn as pastor of St Barbara Church since 2014, and, from 2018, of St Anthony Church as well.  Tom was 67 years of age.

Born in Lynn, he was one of four children of the late Robert H. and Helen I. (Reynolds) Powers, in a family of close siblings.  Tom began his education at St. Michael’s school in West Lynn, and went on to St John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, graduating with the class of 1973.   He earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science in 1977 from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Tom’s began his career as a constituent service Case Manager with the North Shore district staff of Congressman Michael J. Harrington, D-Beverly.   He joined the American Red Cross in 1979 as regional administrator for Blood Donor Services, where he worked for many years.

Tom’s journey to the priesthood began with his deepening involvement with his parish church community in Malden, which lead him to take classes to earn a master’s in theology at the Jesuit Weston School of Theology in Cambridge. With a sense of a calling, in 1991 he entered the Pope John XXIII Seminary and he was ordained in 1995.

Fr.  Tom’s service in the priesthood began in Reading at St Agnes Church, followed by an assignment at St. Theresa in North Reading until he accepted his first pastor position in Lynnfield at St. Maria Goretti Church.  This was his home and community for many years.

Fr. Tom briefly served at St. Patrick’s in Stoneham, prior to his current assignment. Fr.  Tom arrived in Woburn in 2014 and was promptly charged with creating a collaborative with two of the three parishes in the city.  With the help of his clerical colleagues and engaged parishioners, he oversaw the seamless integration of the parish communities into the Woburn Catholic Collaborative.

Fr.  Tom was endowed with a remarkable ability to attend to the needs of others, recognize their talents, and mobilize their good will and intentions.  This cornerstone of his leadership enabled him to build his parishes and to empathically address the spiritual and personal needs of his parishioners.

Following his compassionate heart, Fr. Tom included service as a chaplain at Massachusetts General Hospital as major feature of his ministry.  He was appreciated by patients, their families, and medical caregivers for his dedication to those suffering in difficult situations, especially at their final moments.  He felt great responsibility to support them with prayer and hope that offered comfort and meaning.

Throughout his career, Fr.  Tom remained close to his own family.  He supported his parents in their final years with administrative support, near daily visits, moral and spiritual nurturing, logistical support, and his inspirational senses of humor and perspective.  He was best friends with his siblings and their spouses and partners, and played a special part in the lives of his nieces and nephews on the North Shore and in California.  He attended their games, performances, admired their accomplishments and just hung out with them as a thoughtful, warm and mischievous extra parent.  He had a soft spot for the shaggy canines in his siblings’ households.

Fr. Tom took an active interest in the well-being of visiting priests from Africa who found a congenial home and love and support in the community of his rectory as they pursued their graduate studies in the Boston area and contributed to the ministry of the Woburn collaborative.

His spiritual calling remained paramount and he relished his responsibilities to bring the sacraments and their grace to the community.  His deepest love was saying Mass for the sense of unity he felt with God in the presence of his people.

Fr. Tom was a private person and he navigated his final illness and the challenges of his treatments and the ups and downs of his journey with extraordinary, self-effacing grace. Even in pain he told everyone he was “doing fine” and he never abandoned his sense of responsibility to his parishes, his colleagues, and his family members.  Rest in peace Fr. Tom.

The family requests that remembrances be made to the work of Catholic Relief Services.

Beloved son of the late Robert H. and Helen I. (Reynolds) Powers of Lynn.  Cherished brother of Brian A. Powers, his wife Katherine Riggs of San Francisco, CA; Mary J. Powers, her partner Mary Campagnolo of Lynn, and Ann M. Powers Gallagher, her husband Richard P. Gallagher, Jr. of Reading. Very proud uncle of Natalia Powers Riggs, Aidan Powers Riggs, Caleb Gallagher and Catherine Gallagher. Fr. Powers is also survived by his dear aunts, uncles, cousins, as well as countless friends and parishioners. A Funeral Mass will be Celebrated in St. Barbara Church, Friday, May 27th at 11 a.m.  Relatives, parishioners and friends are respectfully invited to calling hours in  St. Barbara Church, Thursday, May 26th from 2-7 p.m. Interment is private. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made in Rev. Thomas J. Powers memory to Catholic Relief Services 228 W. Lexington St. Baltimore, Maryland 21201-3443. Arrangements are under the direction of the Lynch-Cantillon-Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn, MA.

A Funeral Mass will be Celebrated in St. Barbara Church, Friday, May 27th at 11 a.m.  Relatives, parishioners and friends are respectfully invited to calling hours in  St. Barbara Church, Thursday, May 26th from 2-7 p.m. Interment is private. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made in Rev. Thomas J. Powers memory to Catholic Relief Services 228 W. Lexington St. Baltimore, Maryland 21201-3443. Arrangements are under the direction of the Lynch-Cantillon-Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn, MA.

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  1. Ministry of Consolation

    With our deepest sympathy from Ave Maria Parish, Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Maria Goretti, staff, parishioners and the Ministry of Consolation our thoughts and prayers are with your family at this time. Rest in peace Father you will be missed by many

  2. Mary Hennessey

    I am deeply saddened by the passing of Father Tom. He was very supportive to me and my family at a very difficult time in our lives. I remember our weekly coffee meetings at his St. Maria Goretti parish house and when he came to perform Mass at our home on Christmas Day. He was truly one of a kind and went above and beyond to help our family. Rest in peace Father Tom. You will be truly missed!

  3. I had the pleasure of knowing Tom since childhood. I hadn’t seen him for years, until he became pastor at St, Maria Goretti’s Church, where my in-laws worshiped. I wasn’t surprised to learn he was loved by his parishioners and was killing it as a leader. Tom’s one of the sweetest, loving people I ever met, and he’s from exceptionally good stock.
    I’ll miss him. I’m grateful to have known him. My sincerest condolences to the family.

  4. Six months ago I called Father Powers and asked if he could come to my house and bless a friend going through cancer treatment. He never mentioned his own illness but simply said he had many appointments and would send another priest. To our surprise, he himself arrived. He stayed for quite a while and talked with us. He also said a beautiful blessing which included all of us friends who were there. Knowing now that he was facing his own medical
    issues, we are saying prayers of Thanksgiving that we talked and laughed and prayed with this remarkable Pastor who put our friend’s needs in front of his own. We will
    never forget him and will pray for his eternal soul.

  5. Barrett Family

    We were so sorry to hear of the passing of Father Powers. We were truly fortunate to have had him as the pastor at St. Maria Goretti’s. His friendship and spirituality provided great comfort to our mother over the years and in turn to us when she passed. He is in our thoughts and prayers. The Barrett Family

  6. Jane McDuffee

    My deepest condolences to the Powers Family. I am devastated to hear that Father Tom has passed. Father Tom was Human and Holy. Father Tom’s homilies touched us and brought us closer to Jesus. I am grateful to have had Father Tom’s pastoral support during the loss of my children. Father Tom graciously traveled to my hometown church to celebrate the funeral for our family. God bless you Father Tom! On Angel’s Wings

  7. Alicia Tierney Guinee

    In attendance at this past weekend’s Ordination, I was upset when the Cardinal announced at the outset that Fr. Powers had just passed away. Flooded with memory snippets, I could only focus on Fr. Powers! A college classmate of Mary’s, I never would have imagined the future would bring me in contact with her brother, a coincidence. I always enjoyed Fr. Powers, from days of his being pastor at St. Maria’s, to running into him at Lynnfield Library, and then being so happy when he was named pastor at OLA. I recall him reading the picture book Room for a Little One (Martin Wardell) at a Christmas Mass one year, wisely sharing its simple message beyond the scope of the children. His approach in that instance was impactful! I learned that my longstanding friend’s daughter was married recently by Fr. Powers, and knew it could only have been a meaningful Nuptial Mass. He was impressionable by his intelligence, sincerity, simplicity, faithfulness, and friendliness. Though our paths didn’t cross after his reassignment, I was glad to have written to him after learning of his health concern, to let him know of his impact on our family. Rest in peace….job well done. Sympathy to the Powers family.

  8. Deacon Ed Giordano

    I first met Father Powers when he was serving at St. Patrick Parish in Stoneham. I was in my third year of formation for the Permanent Diaconate and just beginning a course on Homiletics. Father Powers was a wonderful homilist, so I often shared his homilies with Father Dan O’Connell and my classmates.

    After Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate, Father Powers invited me to serve with him at St. Barbara Parish which also led me to serve at St. Anthony of Padua Parish. We loved and served our parishioners together and we spoke often about their goodness and compassion. I thank and praise God for this invitation because it was the beginning of a very special relationship rooted in Jesus’ love for all of brothers and sisters.

    Father Powers encouraged me to love his parish family and to let them love and form me into the deacon that I am called to be. Father Powers supported me in my diaconal ministry; Father Powers encouraged me to be the best man, husband, father and deacon that I could be. Father Powers taught me so, so much.

    I miss him so much, but I am blessed to still feel his presence and support especially in service at the altar, service to the homebound, sick and suffering and service to all our brothers and sisters in Christ.

    Go in the peace of God, my brother and my friend.

  9. GOD rest your eternal Soul my dear friend and grant you well deserved Eternal Salvation in HIS Heavenly Kingdom.
    jk

  10. Gina Distefano

    St. Maria Goretti was our home parish and Fr. Tom was our family priest. My children and I are eternally grateful for his compassion and generosity during a particularly stressful time in our lives. He was so kind and always welcoming. May you rest in peace, Father. You will always have a special place in our hearts. God speed. Gina, Joseph and Margaret Distefano

  11. Father Tom Powers was the only priest in my lifetime that I called my friend. I could discuss any subject or share important concerns with him, but was never judged by Father Tom. He was compassionate, understanding and always available. His warm heart and spiritual guidance changed my life for the better. With fondness, I recall seeing him at the gym frequently and thinking to myself “he is truly a regular guy in many ways”. Always smiling and the first to inquire about family especially my grandchildren. In life, we sometimes are fortunate to meet a special gift from God like Father Tom. He was blessed with the ability to influence us for the better. I will always cherish Father Tom for his spiritual guidance and friendship.

  12. Susan Arseneault

    Father Tom, You were a special priest. We could always count on you to deliver thoughtful homilies. God Bless you and your family. You are now with God. Respectfully, Susan Arseneault

  13. Carol and Fran Champoux

    Our hearts are so sad and broken . We can’t believe that Tommy was taken so young. We remember all the wonderful times we had with all the Powers and all the Horgans. We pray that your grief is lessened knowing that Tommy is now with all the saints and Angels in Paradise. We send you all our love and deepest sympathy.
    Fran and Carol

  14. Robert Sultzbach

    Father Tom, you were always a nice guy. I learned that very quickly during our high school years at St John’s Prep. Congratulations on a life well lived. Godspeed.

  15. The Cirone Family - North Reading

    Our dear brother in Christ, Fr. Tom, you will be greatly missed; however, your Spirit lives on deep within the hearts of all who have been blessed with your presence. While we will all Stay Spirit Strong, together, we will provide you with The Power of Prayer as our way of thanking you for all you have done for so many to open doors, thank you🙏🏽 May Our Father’s peace be with you on this your new journey & with all who have been touched by your graceful Spirit🕊 Yes Fr. Tom, you too remain ageless 🤍

  16. I am very saddened to hear of Tom’s passing but rejoice in knowing he doesn’t suffer here on earth! He touched so many lives in a variety of ways! We were life long child hood friends and I have so many wonderful memories growing up with the Powers family! My sincere condolences to Brian, Mary Jane and Ann Marie!

  17. Sean and Anne Belka

    We are so sorry to to learn of Father Toms passing.
    He was such an extraordinarily kind and compassionate person.
    He just made you feel good being in his presence.
    He visited my mom in the hospital and in rehabilitation on more than one occasion to lift her spirits after a fall and helped put her mind at ease during a stressful time.
    Our deepest sympathies to his family.
    May they find peace in the memories they share of him.
    With love ,
    Sean and Anne Belka

  18. Marsha Lawless

    Father Powers was one of a kind. His gentle voice and wise words were a comfort to me and my family. Three years ago I found myself in intensive care in a coma and Father Tom was there holding my hand and praying for my recovery. Not only did he comfort me but my family. I will be forever grateful to him for his love and service to my family and all his parishioners. He was a mentor and role model to my son, Kyle. Rest In Peace Father Powers. You will me missed.
    Marsha Lawless

  19. Michael DeDominicis

    As I write this I think of such wonderful person you were always putting others before your self we all lost a wonderful man you will never be forgotten until I see you again my friend may you fly among the angels

  20. Karen Millett

    Fr Tom had an a gift of listening with the ear of his heart. A special priest to all ages. Fr Tom you will be missed.

  21. Dianne Autenzio

    Father Powers will be missed by so many. He did so much in the short time
    with the Collaborative. He will always be remembered by the Parishioners at
    St Anthonys and St Barbaras as well as the Friends of St Anthony for his great works and kindness to all
    May he rest in peace

  22. I am so saddened to hear about the passing of Father Tom and my heart goes out to his family. He was our pastor at St. Maria Goretti in Lynnfield. He was also my spiritual director and encouraged me to enter the diaconate formation program. His support, affirmation, and guidance during formation were instrumental in my becoming a deacon. He attended every liturgical event that marked our class’s promotion from one year to the next (the only pastor that did so), and I was proud to have him vest me in my Dalmatic at ordination. After I became a deacon, I would often reach out to him for advice when I had a challenging pastoral situation. I learned so much about what it means to minister to people by watching him. He was a wonderful priest, a phenomenal spiritual mentor, and a good friend. I know many people will feel his loss.

  23. My sincere condolences to the family and many friends of Father Powers. There is a deafening silence without you.
    The only consolation is knowing that you are no longer in pain and you are with the father still keeping a good eye us.
    Rest In Peace.

  24. We were saddened to hear of the passing of Fr. Tom. We were blessed to have had him as a pastor at St. Maria Goretti’s parish! He always made himself available to christen a new grandchild when they were visiting from California. He was a very loving and caring priest. Rest In Peace Fr. Tom🙏🏼

  25. Janet O'Connor

    My deepest sympathy to the family of Fr. Powers and the parishioners of St. Barbara & St. Anthony. My mother and I traveled to Ireland with a group from OLA with Fr. Powers. We had so much fun on the trip w Fr. Tom. He was also my pastor at St. Maria Goretti and was to kind to me when my husband passed. He was a wonderful priest. May he rest in eternal peace.

  26. Pat Kurpiewski Wallen

    My deepest condolences to Brian, Mary and Ann. All of our hearts are broken.

    We take on many roles in life. Tom was a son, a brother, an uncle and a pastor. For me, he was my friend. Rest in eternal peace my friend. It was a life well lived.

  27. Deacon Dick Field

    sigh…one of the best priests and mentors I have ever known. Found out later in life that I grew up near him on Browns Avenue which is just down Winnepurkit Avenue and on the other side of Boston Street.

  28. Jennifer McNeil

    My deepest condolences to all who cared about Father Powers. I had many great opportunities to see him minister to my CCD classes. He could reach the children like no one else. May he rest in eternal peace.

  29. Such sad news. He was so refreshing when he came to St Theresa in North Reading. He performed the marriage ceremony for our daughter in Gloucester in 2018. I used to work with Tom at the American Red Cross, prior to his recruiting of a higher calling. May you Rest In Peace Fr Tom

  30. Loretta Tocio

    Although I have only known Father Powers since I returned to St. Barbara’s Parish a few years ago, I quickly discovered what a kind man and a good leader he was. His sermons always had meaning, and he did an excellent job bringing St. Barbara’s and St. Anthony’s Parishes together. I will miss him. May he Rest in Peace. My thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family.

  31. I am so saddened to hear of the passing of Fr. Tom. He helped me through some very tough times. Love him so very much !!!

  32. Mary & Manny Paiva

    I’m so sorry to hear of Saint Barbara’s loss. He was a wonderful pastor. God Bless you Father and God Bless your family. You will be missed greatly.

  33. Fr Powers was in my mind the epitome of Jesus on earth. He was very kind to my dad in his final years and to my nephew Michael. He was excellent as a pastor with a loving kind heart and always a smile. Rip.

  34. Fr. Tom called himself the Morrison’s Family Chaplin. He married our son and his wife and he Baptized their three sons. He would travel anywhere to help.

    Saint Maria Goretti parish was blessed with his kindness, compassion, humor and most of all his leadership as he helped all of us try to grow in our faith. He was a very special gift to the many people he touched and was a model priest in every way. We were blessed to have him as a friend who will be missed. May God hold him in his arms.

    Sandy and Tim Morrison

  35. Such a huge loss, he was truly passionate and made quite an impact on how much he loved being a pastor, he really touched a lot of people and their lives, may he rest in eternal love and peace 🙏🏻🙏🏻❤️♥️

  36. Laura Nardone

    He was such a gift to our community. Every one of his homilies was a gem of practical wisdom. He showed is all the way. Thank you Jesus for Fr. Tom.

  37. Gail Kallenback Joyner

    To the Power’s family please accept my condolences.Father Tom was such an amazing guy. May he rest in peace

  38. Richard Horgan

    My condolences to my cousins, Brian, Mary & Ann. I am heartbroken at the passing of my cousin Father Tom. In 1999 I had a partner who was very sick with kidney disease, I went and saw Father Tom and asked if he would keep him in his prayers. He went above that and went to the Hospital’s ICU to pray for him. Shortly after that Glen passed away. At the Hospital my Dad asked if I wanted to go see Tom. I did not hesitate and said yes. That is when I first told Tom that Glen was more then just a friend, he was my partner. He said “I did not know that” and immediately offered to come with my Dad and me to Glen’s folks house and pray for Glen & his family. I will never forget how Compassionate Father Tom was towards Glen’s Family and myself, although I am not surprised… RIP Father Tom.

  39. David Conwell

    I worked at the St Agnes Rectory while in high school. It was Fr Tom who showed me priests were “real people”. We would talk about life, the church, but also about horror movies and sports. After that, I started paying attention to his Homilies, and realized I had been missing out at church all those years just sitting there. I was also old enough to start to “get it”.
    Couldn’t have been prouder than when Fr Tom agreed to be the priest for my wedding, and to return to St Agnes to do it years later. Fr Tom was a leader, who had exemplary patience, and incredible compassion for others. He simply KNEW how to be a priest. He’s a major reason I’ve kept up with the faith, and can only hope they’ll be many more like him.
    Sincere condolences to his family and to the many people he influenced in such a positive way, like he did with me.

  40. Walter Kallenback

    Tommy and I grew up in the same neighborhood We shared a special bond of friendship growing up to become the men we are. I am saddened for his spirit to not be on this earth anymore but the memories shine bright like the twinkling star he was

  41. Dr. Robert J. Ferullo, Ed.D

    My condolences to the family of Father Powers. He was given a complex assignment and did it well. As appreciated by both parishes, in his homily, Father Edmund characterized Father Tom in relation to the Gospel of John: “Jesus said to his disciples whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.” Father Tom, you ran the race and won it well. Requiescant in pace.

  42. When my parents moved from their home of 40 years to live with us in Lynnfield, it was Fr. Tom who welcomed them into St. Maria Goretti Parish, invited them to be active contributing members of the community, and gave them a feeling of belonging. Our family will be forever grateful for his friendship and kindness. Marie Lagman and Family

  43. Mary Winston-McCarriston

    Dear Powers Family,
    We would like to extend our sincere condolences to you at this difficult time.
    I grew up knowing your Dad, Bob and in turn met your brother Tom. Rev. Tom did my father, Bill Winston’s funeral mass 18 years ago and have been eternally grateful for his kindness.
    Sending strength and prayers.
    Love,
    The Winston-McCarriston Families.

  44. Mary Anderson

    I am saddened by the passing of Fr. Tom. He was so supportive during my late husband’s illness. Truly a great priest and friend. He will be missed. May he rest in God’s eternal embrace.

  45. Jaymie Stuart Wolfe

    Rest in peace, Fr. Tom. May God be gracious to you. Thank you for your kindness always and the joy of serving at St. Maria Goretti with you.

  46. Patrick Sullivan

    While at St. Theresa’s parish in North Reading, he spoke out at a parish forum
    supporting parishioners position on Cardinal Law’s handling of sexual abuse in the church of Boston, while the pastor remained silent. He was a great example of a voice of truth when badly needed in our church and parish.

  47. Daniel Gately

    Father Powers, great guy, great priest, and a blessing to all that knew him. He will be missed. May He Rest In Peace. Brenda and Dan

  48. Jayne and Sam Ludwig

    There are no words to express our sadness in hearing of Father Tom’s passing. He was a very special priest and a special friend to our family and has touched the lives of so many others through his ministry! Our deepest sympathy to his family, friends and parishioners. The quote he chose for his ordination is so appropriate: “You have been told- what is good and what the Lord requires of you : Only to do right and to love goodness and to walk humbly with your God.” Well done good and faithful servant…..Rest In Peace dear friend until we meet again. Jayne and Sam Ludwig and family

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