Obituary for priest who pioneered internet ministry

An American priest who ran a website for thousands of young Catholics around the world died in June. Fr Richard published a weekly newsletter with catachetical materials which could be printed and copied for free.

Sr Kathryn, SSS, from Waterville, Maine, sent us the following quotes from the obituary published by 'The Church World' diocesan newspaper.

'Father Richard G. Lonsdale, 62, died Wednesday, June 4, 2003 at Southern Maine Medical Centre in Biddeford, ME. He died of bone cancer.

'He was born on July 13, 1940. He graduated from St Louis High School, Biddeford, and studied at St Francis College, also in Biddeford. Upon graduating from college, he entered St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, where he studied for the priesthood. 'He was ordained May 21, 1966, in Portland, ME, by Bishop Daniel J Feeney. He held assignments as an associate pastor at various parishes in Maine. He was appointed pastor of Holy Family Parish, Greenville on June 15, 1978; St Dominic's Parish, Portland on Sept 1, 1983 and Sacred Heart Parish, Hallowell on July 1, 1990.

'On July 1, 1999 he was appointed Chaplain to the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament and the Ursuline Sisters in Waterville, where he served until 10 days before his death.

'He made many written contributions to the Church World Catholic newspaper. He had a significant impact on the Church worldwide through his website, and his free weekly internet newsletter for kids. 'He was predeceased by his parents and a brother, Father Donald W. Lonsdale, who died in 1983. He is survived by two aunts and several cousins. 'Father Lonsdale was buried with the deceased members of his family in St Mary's Cemetery, Biddeford.'

A Memorial Mass was celebrated by Bishop Joseph J. Gerry at St. Joseph's Church, Biddeford.' Sr Kathryn writes: " ..there have been many testimonials to the impact of Father's web site and newsletter from the people online. He had an amazing internet ministry that was hidden and unknown to most of his fellow Priests and the general Catholic population of Maine. He was apparently far ahead of his time in utilizing this resource."

Note: Although he must have had a very busy schedule, Fr Richard was one of the first people to support ICN. I am very grateful for his encouragement and support. Sr Kathryn says there is no one to continue Fr Richard's work and so his site is going to be wound up. I am sure someone else will develop his ideas in future. JS.

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