FALL RIVER — The Fall River Diocese recently lost two beloved priests; one shortly before and one after Christmas Day.

Msgr. John J. Smith, 89, died at Catholic Memorial Home in Fall River on December 28.

Born in New Bedford, he was the son of the late Ambrose and Nora (Sparrow) Smith.

Msgr. Smith attended St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Md., and was ordained to the priesthood on April 25, 1959, by the Most Reverend James L. Connolly at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River. Following his ordination, he served as parochial vicar at St. Patrick Parish in Wareham and St. James Parish in New Bedford. He also served as temporary administrator to Corpus Christi Parish in East Sandwich and pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Attleboro. He was diocesan director of Vocations from 1968 to 1997. 

Msgr. John J. Smith

In 1987, he was raised to the rank of Prelate of Honor by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II. In 1989, until his retirement in 2006, he served as pastor of St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth. During his time in active ministry, Msgr. Smith also served as chaplain of the Serra Club of Attleboro, the St. John’s Council #404 of the Knights of Columbus of Attleboro, and assumed the responsibility of the Newman Chaplaincy at Southeastern Massachusetts University in North Dartmouth. 

He also served as moderator of the Catholic Nurses of the Cape and Islands District, and was a member of the Council of Priests, College of Consultors and Episcopal Vicar for the Cape Cod and the Island Deanery of the Diocese of Fall River.

He is survived by many nieces, nephews and brother priests.

He was the brother of the late Sister Mary Nora Smith, R.S.M., Patricia Manning, Ambrose Smith, Philip Smith, Robert Smith, Nora Feener, James Smith, Michael Smith and Julia Gamba.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated January 4 at St. Lawrence Martyr Church in New Bedford, where Father Marc Tremblay preached the homily. Burial followed at St. Mary’s Cemetery in New Bedford. Arrangements were by the Saunders-Dwyer Home for Funerals, 495 Park St., New Bedford. For online guestbook, visit www.saundersdwyer.com.

Father Paul T. Lamb, 84, a retired priest of the Diocese of Fall River and chaplain of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, died on December 23.

Father Paul T. Lambr

He is predeceased by his parents, Leon and Evelyn (Smith), and survived by his cousins Nelson (Joanne) Lamb of Wilmington, Del., and Doris Bea Campbell of Pawleys Island, S.C.

A native of Washington, D.C., and alumnus of Notre Dame University (1959), “Terry” (as he was known to his relatives and close friends) served in the U.S. Army and later worked as a stockbroker before discerning a vocation to the priesthood.

After graduate studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Conn., he was ordained a priest at St. Mary’s Cathedral, on June 8, 1996, by Bishop Sean P. O’Malley, OFM Cap. Father Lamb served as parochial vicar at Holy Trinity Parish in Harwich and twice at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Hyannis; chaplain of Morton Hospital in Taunton; and pastor of St. Rita Parish in Marion until retiring in 2007.

He enjoyed golfing, reading, watching old movies, playing bridge, and spending time with family and friends.

The wake will be held in St. Francis Xavier Church, 347 South Street, Hyannis, January 10, at 9:30 a.m., and the Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. On Tuesday, January 18, a memorial Mass will be held at St. Bartholomew Church in Bethesda, Md., with burial following immediately at St. John’s Forest Glen Cemetery in Silver Spring, Md.