November 19, 2017

The Reverend Thomas L. Keenan

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The Reverend Thomas L. Keenan, Pastor Emeritus of St. Margaret Church, Rumford died on Monday, September 4, 2017 at Memorial Hospital. Born March 14, 1938 in Providence, he was the son of the late Gilbert L. “Roy” and Mary- Ruth (Sweeney) Keenan. He lived his early years in East Providence. His education began at Sacred Heart Grammar School in East Providence where the Sisters of Mercy laid a foundation that would benefit him for life. He later graduated LaSalle Academy (Class of 1955) and Our Lady of Providence Seminary (Class of 1959-BA). That year Bishop Russell J. McVinney sent him to the University of Louvain, Belgium where he completed his studies, obtaining an M.A.(LOV.) and was ordained to the priesthood by John Cardinal Cody, Archbishop of Chicago on June 29, 1963. That summer he returned to Rhode Island.

After a brief assignment at St. Joseph Church in Central Falls, he became assistant pastor at Ss. Peter & Paul Cathedral, also serving as moderator to the National Council of Catholic Women. From 1967-1971 he taught Religion and French at St. Raphael Academy in Pawtucket. During those years he also served as a part-time assistant pastor at St. Edward Church in Pawtucket and at St. Edward and St. Thomas, both in Providence.

Appointed to St. Charles Borromeo Church in Woonsocket as assistant pastor in 1971, he remained there four years, before going to St. Mark Church in Garden City, Cranston until 1979. While at St. Charles, he was administrator of Mt. St. Francis Day Care Center in Woonsocket and while at St. Mark’s he was the administrator of Carter Day Nursery in Providence. While in these positions he served on various special committees for the Catholic Charity Fund Appeal, in Woonsocket in particular, and later in Providence.

In February 1979, Father Keenan became pastor of St. Joseph Church in Pascoag. While there he was dean of the Northern Rhode Island Deanery and undertook major renovations in the parish. In 1991, Bishop Louis Gelineau appointed him the pastor of St. Margaret Church in Rumford from which he retired in 2006 with the title of Pastor Emeritus. At St. Margaret he amortized the debt from the 1988 fire and reconstruction.

Besides his clerical vocation, Father’s avocations included: cooking, reading, travelling and attending theatrical performances and museums.

He is survived by his sister, Kathleen M. (Keenan) Monahan; his nephew, Marc J. Monahan and his wife Erika and their son Calum; his niece, Erin K. (Monahan) Hayes and her husband Charles P. and their sons David and Kevin. He was the uncle of the late David Monahan. He was a long-time friend of the late Sister Elizabeth Gorman, SND and her nieces and nephews whom Father considered his extended family, especially Julie Gorman, William Gorman and his family and Madeline Jackson.

Father Keenan will lie in state in St. Margaret Church, 1098 Pawtucket Avenue, Rumford on Friday, September 8, 2017 from 5-7 PM. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday at 10:00 AM. Burial will follow in Mt. St. Mary Cemetery, Pawtucket. Please omit flowers. Contributions may be made in Father’s memory to St. Margaret Church or to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, 468 Popoquodnick Road, Windsor, Connecticut 06095. Please pray for him.

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