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Rev. Msgr. Joseph E. Desmond

Deceased: 2012-02-24


CSM Graduation Year: 1947

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Reverend Monsignor Joseph E. Desmond, 89 passed away at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center on Friday, February 24, 2012 after a brief illness.

Monsignor Desmond was born on June 23, 1922 in Hazelton, PA, one of four children of Joseph E. and Alice (Bacheller) Desmond. The family moved to Lebanon, NH where he spent his childhood and graduated from Lebanon High School. He went on to Notre Dame University and then completed his ecclesiastical studies at Saint Paul’s Seminary in Ottawa, PQ Canada. Monsignor was ordained a priest on May 31, 1947 by Bishop Matthew F. Brady at St. Joseph Cathedral in Manchester. In the spring of 1980 he continued his studies in Theological Education by attending the North American College in Rome, Italy.

Monsignor Desmond was assigned as associate pastor of Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish in Derry in June 1947 and then as associate pastor of Saint Mary Parish in Newmarket in June 1948. In June 1949, Monsignor Desmond was assigned as associate pastor of Saint Joseph Parish in Dover and then in September 1960 as associate pastor of Saint Paul Parish in Franklin. In February 1961 he served as Temporary Administrator of Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Merrimack. In June 1962, Monsignor Desmond was assigned as associate pastor to Saint Anne Parish, Manchester.

In April 1965, Bishop Ernest J. Primeau appointed Monsignor Desmond as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Wilton. In addition to this assignment he also served as Diocesan Vicar for Religious until October of 1973 while remaining pastor of Sacred Heart Parish. In January 1967, Bishop Primeau appointed Monsignor Desmond pastor of Saint Joseph Parish in Dover and in October 1973 he was appointed pastor of Saint Thomas More Parish, Durham. In June 1982 Bishop Odore Gendron appointed him as pastor of Saint Anne Parish in Manchester. In 1990 Monsignor Desmond retired from active ministry.
In December of 1970 Father Desmond was awarded the Prelate of Honor thereby granting him the title of Monsignor. He also served on the Diocesan Priest Personnel Board, on the Diocesan Vocation Board and as Chaplain to the Manchester area Junior Catholic Daughters.

During his retirement, Monsignor Desmond remained actively engaged in parish ministry serving first as Temporary Administrator at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Manchester and Saint Kathryn Parish, Hudson between 1990-1992 before retiring completely and residing at Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Hudson.

Family and friends remember Father Joe as a true fan of baseball, a daredevil ski jumper, a sports reporter and a cartoonist. He played several musical instruments and loved hiking in the White Mountains, reading and traveling. He will long be remembered for his humility, wonderful smile and kind spirit.

Monsignor Desmond was pre- deceased by his three sisters, Alice (Desmond) Low, Ruth (Desmond) Cowan and Geraldine (Desmond) Drewniak.

Survivors include several nieces and nephews: David Low, Margaret Halacy and Elizabeth Buch, children of Alice; Mary Schau, Bridgette Vickers, John Cowan, Margaret Cole, Sheila LeBarge and Joseph Cowan, children of Ruth; Daniel Drewniak, Martha Moritz, Stephen Drewniak, Mary Connolly, Susan Jodoin and Stanley Drewniak, children of Geraldine. Many fond memories of “Uncle Joe” will always remain with them. Father Joe also had many friends that he had grown close to over his many years as a priest around the state of New Hampshire.

The Most Reverend Peter A. Libasci, Bishop of Manchester, presided at a Mass of Christian Burial at Saint Joseph Cathedral at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday February 28th. The Rite of Committal was celebrated after Mass at Saint Joseph Cemetery in Bedford, New Hampshire.