Swansea pastor Father David M. Andrade, 57, passes unexpectedly


SWANSEA, Mass. — Father David M. Andrade, 57, pastor of St. Louis de France Parish in Swansea, died on Thursday, January 25 at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton after a brief illness.

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A native of Taunton, Father Andrade was born on Oct. 26, 1960. He was the son of Augusta (Camara) Andrade and the late David Manuel Andrade.

He was ordained to the priesthood on May 31, 1986 by Bishop Daniel A. Cronin at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River and had served the diocese in various capacities over his nearly 32 years of ministry. 

After ordination he served as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Health Parish in Fall River and St. John of God Parish in Somerset. 

In 1997 he was appointed parochial administrator of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Parish in Attleboro. 

From 1998 to 2012, he served as founding pastor of Holy Trinity Parish (formerly St. Jean the Baptiste Parish, which merged with St. William’s and St. Elizabeth’s parishes) in Fall River. During this time he also served as chaplain of Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River and diocesan liaison with Catholic Relief Services.

In 2012, he was appointed pastor of St. Louis de France Parish in Swansea. 

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Wednesday, January 31 at Holy Trinity Church in Fall River. Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., was the main celebrant. He was joined by Bishop Emeritus George W. Coleman, as well as dozens of priests and deacons.

Deacon Thomas Palanza was selected by Father Andrade to preach at his funeral. The deacon noted, “The last time I stood at this ambo (pulpit) was to celebrate David’s 25th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood on June 26, 2011. Never could I have imagined that I would be standing here today seven years later, to preach again — at his final Mass — in this life.”

Deacon Palanza opened the homily by expressing the sympathies of all of the clergy and parishioners towards Father Andrade’s mother. “I want to express our heartfelt, profound and, frankly, inexpressible sorrow for your great loss and to assure you of our continued love and prayers for you and for our brother David.”

Towards the end of the homily Deacon Palanza addressed Mrs. Andrade again, describing how when Holy Trinity Church was renovated Father Andrade insisted that the statue of the Blessed Mother be the Pieta statue of Mary holding her deceased Son on Good Friday. 

“And so now, Mrs. Andrade, we all know for sure that your son David wanted to leave you with this beautiful and eternal reminder of who you are and will always be to him: a loving mother, who gave her only son to the Church — for the love and service of others — so that in the midst of your sorrow today and in the moments of grief that are sure to follow — that you, like our Blessed Mother, will be filled with the same assurance and comfort that her Son Jesus gave to her, to us and to the world, that He came into this world to destroy sin and death, to rise from the dead and ascend into Heaven, and will come again in glory to usher in a new and eternal life for all who believe in Him.”

Still addressing Mrs. Andrade, Deacon Palanza then quoted our diocese’s founder: “St. Pius X said, ‘A vocation to the priesthood comes from the heart of God, but goes through the heart of the mother.’ Know that, just as you were the first to welcome David into this world 57 years ago, be assured today — and every day that you are apart — that David will be there waiting to welcome you this time into God’s eternal Kingdom.”

Before the Final Commendation, Bishop da Cunha addressed the congregation. “It is normal to be sad. If this is very hard for any of us to understand, imagine how much harder it is for his beloved mother Augusta. Thank you for sharing your son with the Church. Father David leaves a huge void, but our faith tells us that he will be watching over and praying for us.”

Bob Allcock, a friend whom Father Andrade led through Confirmation 33 years ago, also spoke after Communion. He described all the Sacraments and important family occasions in which Father Andrade ministered to him and his family. He recalled how Mrs. Andrade shared with him that she found her son David, when he was a boy, with a sheet wrapped around himself and giving a speech alone. Questioned as to what he was doing, young David said, “I want to be like my teacher, the priest.”

Allcock said that Mrs. Andrade had shared with him in the days following her son’s death “that she wasn’t angry, she was at peace. She told me that what bothered Father David the most was when people were angry.” 

Allcock said that he learned from Father Andrade this axiom, “Don’t let someone’s negative 10 seconds rob you of peace in the other 86,390 seconds in a day.”

Allcock then concluded, “I’m going to follow Father David’s example and put myself in God’s hands now, like Gussy [Mrs. Andrade], I’m at peace.”

Deacon Palanza expressed appreciation “to [Father Andrade’s] closest friend and classmate, Father Tim Reis, pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in Norton, who, as a loving and faithful friend, was designated by David with the unenviable task of coordinating these beautiful Liturgies. And we know, all too well, how particular David was about many things, but I’m sure he is well pleased with all that you’ve done!”

Deacon Palanza addressed the many questions swirling in people’s minds because of Father Andrade’s death. “How could this be? How could this happen? He was much too young. We had plans for so many more years — of good times, friendship and laughter.”

To answer these objections, the homilist shared the words of a friar, who spoke to him some years ago. The friar shared with the deacon the layout “of a magnificent cathedral with triple arches that formed the entrance to the church. And above the one to the left was a beautiful bouquet of roses carved into the granite. And below it was inscribed, ‘All that which pleases is but for a moment.’  

“And to the right side was a cross carved into the granite and below it was inscribed, ‘All that which troubles is but for a moment.’

“And in the center arch there was no carving, only the words, ‘That only is important which is eternal.’”

Deacon Palanza then added, “Because, whether our time in this world is 57 or 107 years, it really is but a blink of an eye in the realm of eternity. And the only thing that will really matter in the end — the only thing of any lasting consequence — is how well we chose to respond to God’s eternal call.”

Speaking of that call, the homilist noted, “From the moment of our Baptism, God calls us home — like only a loving parent can - constantly guiding, nurturing, oftentimes even nudging us along. And each of us will be tested by that which pleases, and lulls us into thinking that we can find our happiness apart from God. And all that troubles will try and deceive us into thinking that there is no hope, no Resurrection or promise of a new and eternal life. 

“But for all who recognize this world for what it is, as a passage-way of faith — not our final destination — God provides us with a window of Truth and Life to that which is eternal!”

Deacon Palanza spoke of the importance of Father Andrade’s priesthood for the community. “The Eucharist is our window to gaze upon the eternal — to hold and receive the revelation of God’s perfect love for all of His creation. But this miracle of our Catholic faith cannot happen on its own. It must have a mediator. Those among us with the transformative power. It must have the priesthood of Jesus Christ — to stand before us in His person, to take the mundane form of bread and wine and change it into the miraculous presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It must have the ‘yes’ from those called to be ‘a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’ A calling that Father David heard, accepted and lived out with great joy.”

A priest is called by God “to shepherd and to guide us from here to eternity,” the deacon preached. “It is the precious gift that Father David is, and will forever be, to all he was called to love, to heal, to nourish and to serve throughout his priesthood.”

The homilist urged the congregation, “So let us all remember to pray for our priests, for those here with us today, for those in our diocese and beyond, that many more will hear the call from our Lord, and follow selflessly and generously in the footsteps of Father David. For without them there is no Eucharist, there is no Reconciliation, there is no window for us to have and to hold that which is eternal and true.” 


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