Rev. Richard C. “Doc” Conway
“Take up your cross and come follow Me!”
Fr. Doc Conway lived that command to the utmost, upon his arrival in Lowell, at St. Patrick Parish. Assigned as administrator of the Parish in 1980, Fr. Doc set about rejuvenating a very poor parish, with a very rich tradition, into one of hope and stability. Appointed Pastor of St. Patrick Parish in June of 1982, Fr. Doc launched into a method of restoring the spirit of St. Patrick’s that had for so long languished in the deterioration of its immediate environment. Those were tough days in the Acre!
Fr. Doc’s formation of a parish committee to plan for the 150th Anniversary of the Church, laid the foundation for many additional successful endeavors. He was instrumental in the celebration of the first Chrism Mass, in the Archdiocese of Boston our side of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, at St. Patrick Church. Together with a band of parishioners he transformed the lower church into a chapel and social hall that reduced the operating expenses of the parish for many years. Working together with the Dunfey Family, Fred Sheehy, Jack Flood, and a host of other people, he succeeded in having the church bells restored to their original beauty. This same group was successful in obtaining the placement of Saint Patrick Church on the National Register. They then conceived the idea of establishing an Irish Cultural Week. Fr. Doc’s strong leadership has continued to influence the work of the Irish Cultural Committee for the past thirty years.
Throughout all of this time, he never lost sight of his commitment to provide for the needs of people throughout the Acre, and the City of Lowell. Walking the streets of this great city, with Fr. Dan O’Connell by his side, Fr. Doc learned quickly how to identify and satisfy those needs. He forged contacts with business people that enabled him to provide the bare necessities to those less fortunate, and to immigrant families recently settled in the community.
According to an article published in December 2012, in The Boston Globe, 2012 he is still doing the same thing in Dorchester.
Everyone who has had the privilege and pleasure of knowing Fr. Doc has a story to tell, just ask them. His dedication to the calling of Priesthood has been, and still remains, an inspiration to all of us.
Oh, and by the way, this year marks the Golden Jubilee of Fr. Doc’s Ordination, what better way to celebrate his life’s dedication!