Rev. Richard C. Messina
Rev. Richard C. Messina “Fr. Dick”, age 78, died in peace on October 12, 2017, after a short illness. He was the beloved son of the late Joseph O. and Mary A. (Gibelli) Messina.
Born in Orient Heights, Boston , he was raised there until the age of 13 when his family moved to Somerville. Father Messina entered the archdiocesan seminaries after graduating from St. Clement High in Somerville. Richard Cardinal Cushing ordained him to the priesthood at Holy Cross Cathedral on February 10, 1965.
His first assignment following ordination was as an assistant at St. John Vianney Parish in Revere's Point of Pines section. The parish, now closed, was perched at the end of Revere Beach. Three years later, he was named an assistant in a parish completely different from Revere - nowhere near a beach; probably ten times as many families; an enormous and splendid church, parish school, convent and several other priests in the rectory - Blessed Sacrament in Jamaica Plain.
Four years later in October 1972 ,he was appointed chaplain at Bishop Fenwick High School in Peabody with residence at nearby St. John the Baptist Parish. He would for the next decade be teaching at the school and a familiar face at school events; he was a sought-after counselor for alumni, faculty, staff and parents, as well as students. Years after graduation his students were calling him to celebrate weddings and baptize children. During these years, he was also a weekend assistant at St. Clement Parish in Somerville. He relishes telling stories of a much-admired priest of the archdiocese, the parish's pastor, the late Msgr. Peter Hart.
He returned to parish life and to familiar territory as a member and moderator of the team ministry at Immaculate Conception Parish in Revere. A milestone of the team ministry was the construction of a much-needed and new church, the process spread over several years culminated in the dedication of the new church in 1990.
For about one year, late 1992 to late 1993, Father Messina was back on the North Shore as a parochial vicar at St. Ann Parish in Gloucester. In August 1993, Cardinal Bernard Law named him pastor of St. Mary Parish in Winchester. For the next two decades he had shepherded the town's first parish from its central Winchester location, maintaining the parish and its elementary school.
He was the dear brother of Theresa and her husband Joseph Luca, who he considered a brother. He was the devoted uncle of Joseph Luca, Elizabeth Liebow, Theresa Marie and Michel Gilbert, Steven and Staci Luca, and cherished Grand-Uncle of Isaiah and Michael Gilbert, Luca Liebow, Jackson and Savannah Luca. Fr. Dick leaves behind his extended family members, Robin and Cynthia Keus, and his many cousins and friends, and thanks the beautiful Faith communities of St. John Vianney, Revere, Blessed Sacrament, Jamaica Plain, Bishop Fenwick High School, Peabody, St. Clement, Medford, Immaculate Conception, Revere, St. Anne, Gloucester, and St. Mary Parish Family, Winchester, all of whom helped him on his spiritual journey.
Fr. Dick will lie in state at St. Mary’s Church, 155 Washington St., Winchester on Sunday, October 15 from 1:30 – 7:30 PM followed by a Vigil Service at 7:30PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday at 11:00 AM. Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be given in his name to St. Mary’s Christian Ministry Fund, 158 Washington St., Winchester, MA 01890.