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Rev. Everett Pearson

Deceased: 2022-08-23


Seminary Graduation Year: 1991

CSM Graduation Year: 1995

Father Everett Pearson, a priest of The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington for more than 30 years, died Aug. 23 at the age of 61. At the time of his death, he was serving simultaneously as pastor of Mount Calvary Parish and administrator of Holy Spirit Parish, both in Forestville, Maryland.

A native of Washington, D.C., Everett Pearson was born Oct. 2, 1960, the youngest of three children of Ray and Dorothy Pearson. He was raised in Nativity Parish, attended the parish school and in 1978 was graduated from Archbishop Carroll High School.

While a member of Nativity, the future priest was active in parish activities, including the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), coaching basketball, and working with the Boy Scouts of America.

In a 1991 interview with the Catholic Standard just before his ordination, Father Pearson credited his vocation to the example of three priests: Father Francis Xavier Walsh, a former pastor of Nativity Parish; Father Richard Gardiner, formerly in charge of Nativity’s Teen Club, and the now-deceased Bishop (then-Msgr.) William Curlin, who at one time served as director of priestly vocations for the archdiocese.

“They were constant reminders that the priesthood was made up of real people. You didn’t have to be a saint … although it doesn’t hurt,” Father Pearson said in that interview.

Prior to entering the seminary, he studied computer science at both The Catholic University of America and the University of Maryland. Upon entering the seminary, he attended Borromeo College in Cleveland and the North American College in Rome, where he earned a licentiate in sacred theology.

Father Pearson was ordained by Cardinal James Hickey on Nov. 17, 1991 at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. His first assignment was as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, Takoma Park, Maryland.

In 1994, he continued his theological studies in Rome, and then returned in 1995 to serve as a temporary parochial vicar at St. Matthias Parish in Lanham, Maryland. Later in 1995, he was assigned as parochial vicar at Mount Calvary Parish in Forestville, and then as parochial vicar at Assumption Parish in Washington, D.C. in 1997.

Father Pearson was named pastor of Holy Name Parish in Washington, D.C. in 1998, and served in that post until 2009 when he was named pastor of Mount Calvary. In 2012, he was also appointed as administrator of Holy Spirit Parish in Forestville, serving both parishes up until the time of his death.

In his 1991 interview with the Catholic Standard, Father Pearson expressed a desire to reach out to and evangelize African Americans. Members of the Black community, he said, “are starving for evangelization. They don’t always feel invited (to be a part of the Church) … If people see me happy with Jesus Christ, maybe they’ll follow.”

In addition to his parish duties, Father Pearson served as chaplain to the St. Charles Lwanga Council of the Knights of Columbus, and chaplain of the First Friday Club. He was also a member of The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington’s Vocations Team and the archdiocesan Priest Retirement Board.

Father Pearson told that Catholic Standard that as a priest, “I just want to do my best. I want to serve God with all my strength and all my soul and let God do the rest.”

Washington Cardinal Wilton Gregory was the main celebrant at the Mass of Christian Burial for Father Pearson at Mount Calvary Church on Sept. 2, and about 40 priests concelebrated the Mass. Also concelebrating the Mass were Washington Auxiliary Bishop Roy Campbell Jr. and Bishop Philipos Mar Stephanos of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Eparchy in the USA and Canada, whose Eastern Rite Catholic community worships at Holy Spirit Church in Forestville.

Hundreds of people from Mount Calvary, Holy Spirit and the other parishes served by Father Pearson crowded the Forestville church.

Addressing the congregation at Father Pearson’s Funeral Mass, Cardinal Gregory said, “What a wonderful gift he was to us, first of all to his natural family, then to his Church family. We are but one family.”

The homily was given by Msgr. Ansgar Laczko, a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Washington who had been a friend to Father Pearson from his days as a seminarian through his years as a priest.

“He stayed close to the Lord in times of joy, in times of sorrow and even in times of suffering,” said Msgr. Laczko, who noted that Father Pearson held a rosary in his hand as he was dying.

The congregation laughed when the veteran priest remembered how Father Pearson’s “everyday vocabulary at times was laced with what we might call ‘street talk,’ especially at times when things were not going smoothly.”

But Msgr. Laczko emphasized “how he loved his people, old and young,” pointing out that in recent years as Father Pearson served as the pastor of Mount Calvary, he also regularly celebrated Masses at Bishop McNamara High School next-door and at a nearby nursing home.

For Father Pearson, that reflected him doing what he was ordained and called to do, “ministering to the flock in his care,” Msgr. Laczko said. He added, “His main concern at the parish was drawing more and more people to know and love our Lord Jesus Christ and to serve Him.”

During the final procession as Father Pearson’s casket was wheeled down the center aisle, many people reached out to touch the casket of the priest who had touched their lives.

In addition to his parents, Father Pearson was predeceased by his brother, Anthony. He is survived by his sister, Camilla Pearson; one uncle, Charles Pardue; and three aunts, Frances Pearson, Clara Voss and Esther Thompson.

After the Funeral Mass, Father Pearson was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Washington, where as a priest he had faithfully served many Masses in the chapel over the years to comfort people whose loved ones were buried there.