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Priest jumps off bridge in Rhode Island
Telegram ^ | September 11, 2009 | Linda Bock

Posted on 09/12/2009 6:33:40 AM PDT by NYer

The Rev. Dennis J. Rocheford, 60, who became pastor at St. Ann Parish in North Oxford July 1, jumped to his death in Rhode Island yesterday morning, according to Rhode Island State Police.

“Our focus is on prayers for him, for his family and for his friends,” Raymond L. Delisle, spokesman for the Diocese of Worcester, said this morning.

Rev. Rocheford, a longtime military chaplain, was on leave from St. Ann's and also had been serving at the Chapel of Hope at the Navy Base in Newport, R.I., according to Mr. Delisle.

About 8 a.m. yesterday, state police in Rhode Island received a report that a man had jumped from the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge. In addition to Newport and Rhode Island State Police, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Jamestown Navy-Marine Corps responded.

Authorities recovered the man's body in the water below the bridge. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to Rhode Island State Police Capt. James Swanberg. He said the man who jumped off the bridge was identified as Dennis Rocheford.

The Newport Bridge is the largest suspension bridge in New England and spans Narragansett Bay, connecting Newport and Jamestown.

Rev. Rocheford had been on a leave of absence from St. Ann's but still lived in the parish rectory when he was not at the Navy base. He was previously pastor of St. Theresa's Parish in Blackstone and for a time served as a priest assigned to assist clergy of the Diocese of Worcester charged with sexual misconduct.

Rev. Rocheford was born in South Weymouth and attended schools in Worcester. He graduated from South High School in 1967. He joined the Marine Corps and did a tour of duty in Vietnam. He attended St. John's Seminary in Brighton and was ordained a priest at St. Paul's Cathedral in Worcester by Bishop Bernard J. Flanagan in 1977. Rev. Rocheford's first assignment was to St. Camillus Parish in Fitchburg as associate pastor in 1977.

Other parishes in Central Massachusetts that he was appointed to include Sacred Heart in Hopedale in 1981 and St. Joan of Arc in Worcester in 1985. He studied Spanish at a seminary in the Dominican Republic before being appointed to St. Joan of Arc. Rev. Rocheford returned to military service in 1987. When he returned to the area in 1998, he was appointed to St. John the Evangelist in Clinton. In 2001, Rev. Rocheford was appointed administrator of St. Theresa's in Blackstone and became pastor in 2002.



TOPICS: Catholic; Moral Issues; Prayer
KEYWORDS: catholic; priest; rocheford

1 posted on 09/12/2009 6:33:40 AM PDT by NYer
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To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

Prayerful ping!


2 posted on 09/12/2009 6:34:34 AM PDT by NYer ( "One Who Prays Is Not Afraid; One Who Prays Is Never Alone"- Benedict XVI)
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To: NYer
When he returned to the area in 1998, he was appointed to St. John the Evangelist in Clinton.

As in Clinton, Maryland. My old parish back in the day.

3 posted on 09/12/2009 6:38:48 AM PDT by Senator Goldwater
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To: NYer

Poor man, no one knows the demons we all deal with. It’s sad to see a permanent solution to a temporary problem. RIP


4 posted on 09/12/2009 6:40:04 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Buck Ofama!!)
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To: NYer

May God rest his soul. And may he find the peace in eternity he sought in life.


5 posted on 09/12/2009 6:43:52 AM PDT by BigCinBigD (Remember. There's no "U" in Government.)
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To: NYer

Dear God,Prayers for his family and friends.


6 posted on 09/12/2009 7:49:39 AM PDT by fatima (Free Hugs Today :))
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To: NYer
The most sincere prayers filled with HOPE for this Servant of God who felt all was lost! We may never be entitled to know what devils persued him, but we can pray that they are banished away from any other who has given so much!
7 posted on 09/12/2009 8:02:05 AM PDT by AKA Elena (St Michael the Archangel defend us in Battle -- and this is war!)
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To: NYer

RIP.


8 posted on 09/12/2009 8:44:47 AM PDT by LdSentinal
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To: NYer
Wow! I knew him. He was my battalion chaplain in the late 80s. He was the best chaplain that I ever served with (and there were many over a 20 year period). Before becoming a priest, he served in Vietnam during Tet as a radio operator (a billet that was certain to make you a high value target in combat). He had more combat ribbons than most officers that served during the same period. He was the kindest and gentlest person I ever met that had backbone made of iron. Everyone that came into contact with him admired him and sought his advise. I cannot imagine what would cause him to do this, but it must have been significant.
9 posted on 09/12/2009 10:18:06 AM PDT by fini
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To: fini

Thank you for the testimonial on Fr. Rocheford. The Vietnam war took a serious toll on many. Could this have been a latent reaction? If you learn more, would you please ping me? Would appreciate it.


10 posted on 09/12/2009 10:38:12 AM PDT by NYer ( "One Who Prays Is Not Afraid; One Who Prays Is Never Alone"- Benedict XVI)
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To: Senator Goldwater
As in Clinton, Maryland. My old parish back in the day.

There's also a parish by the same name in Clinton Massachusetts, and that's probably the one they're referring to.

Coincidence?

Where the Clintons are involved, who can say?

11 posted on 09/12/2009 10:43:45 AM PDT by x
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To: NYer
Thank you for your concern. If I find out I will send you a note. I could write pages on things that he did or said that made him stand out from the others. But I will sum it up by saying that whenever a bunch of us from the old days talk about him we all are unanimous in saying that he was the best. If Viet Nam was the cause, he hid it well. As I mentioned earlier, he was a radio operator during Tet and the officer he carried the radio for later became a general (a very good general by the way), so I don't think his problem was related to anything he did in Viet Nam. He was a Franciscan, so he took a vow of poverty and he lived it- his car was literally falling apart. Several years later I say him at Parris Island (one of two Marine Corps Boot Camps). He was just as humble and kind as he was while in 3rd Bn 8th Marines (He also had a very good sense of humor). I just pray that: 1) there was a chemical imbalance (which made in unstable); and most importantly 2) God takes mercy on his soul.
12 posted on 09/12/2009 11:45:23 AM PDT by fini
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To: fini

Why do people think it is always Vietnam?


13 posted on 09/12/2009 12:22:14 PM PDT by gman992
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To: NYer

The poor man. How very, very sad.


14 posted on 09/12/2009 12:26:19 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: NYer

God have mercy on his soul.

Lord, we ask not to count the suicide against this brave man.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, amen.


15 posted on 09/12/2009 12:26:57 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: fini

Thank you so much for sharing your memories of Rev. Rocheford.


16 posted on 09/12/2009 12:30:10 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: NYer

Sad. RIP.


17 posted on 09/12/2009 1:22:16 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps !"~~)
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To: NYer

Prayers lifted.


18 posted on 09/12/2009 2:40:06 PM PDT by TASMANIANRED (TAZ:Untamed, Unpredictable, Uninhibited.)
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To: NYer
How very sad. He sounds like he was quite a guy. He looks the way priests looked in movies from the '40s and '50s. In fact, he looks a little like the actor Pat O'Brien.

May God have mercy on his soul.

19 posted on 09/12/2009 3:09:01 PM PDT by Oratam
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To: fini

Prayers going up for him. RIP.


20 posted on 09/12/2009 8:31:00 PM PDT by Domestic Church (AMDG)
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To: Domestic Church

Thank heavens that we have a compassionate Father to met out Justice.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen


21 posted on 09/12/2009 10:14:35 PM PDT by mckenzie7 (I am a European American! Silly me. I never realized that before! Thanks, oh great unifier!)
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To: NYer; informavoracious; larose; RJR_fan; Prospero; Conservative Vermont Vet; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of interest.

Obama Says A Baby Is A Punishment

Obama: “If they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”

22 posted on 09/12/2009 10:20:33 PM PDT by narses (http://www.theobamadisaster.com/)
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To: NYer

Poor man. May God have mercy on his soul.


23 posted on 09/12/2009 10:40:37 PM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: NYer
He had very recently been hospitalized for a stress disorder.


Rev. Dennis J. Rocheford celebrates a Mass in May 2007 for U.S. Marines at a base in Rutbah, Iraq.

24 posted on 09/13/2009 12:03:11 AM PDT by iowamark (certified by Michael Steele as "ugly and incendiary")
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To: NYer

I will pray for Father and his family


25 posted on 09/13/2009 3:02:34 AM PDT by aimee5291
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To: iowamark; fini
He had very recently been hospitalized for a stress disorder.

Thank you for that updated information. While we don't know for sure, we can presume that they put him on 'medication'. May God have mercy on him.

26 posted on 09/13/2009 4:49:43 AM PDT by NYer ( "One Who Prays Is Not Afraid; One Who Prays Is Never Alone"- Benedict XVI)
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To: annalex
Very well said.

We often struggle to understand such deeds. We know that only God knows truly what's in a man's soul.

May God bring him to eternal life, with the Glory of God's eternal love.

Thank you for such a thoughtful post.

27 posted on 09/13/2009 7:14:33 AM PDT by Northern Yankee (Freedom Needs A Soldier)
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To: NYer

Bump


28 posted on 09/13/2009 7:19:40 AM PDT by BunnySlippers (I LOVE BULL MARKETS . . .)
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To: NYer

Prayers that God will forgive him.

We need as many good priests as we can get, and he seems to have been a good priest.

Hard to imagine why he would do something like this, but I hope that he was not in his right mind, that he repented at the last instant, and that God will forgive him.


29 posted on 09/13/2009 10:36:13 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Cicero

It is a terrible thing for a priest to commit suicide! I pray that he has been saved through the grace of Our Lord.


30 posted on 09/13/2009 10:47:26 AM PDT by Lucius Cornelius Sulla ("men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." -- Edmund Burke)
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To: fini

God Bless the soul of Father Rocheford.

fini, Thanks for your service.


31 posted on 09/15/2009 10:02:14 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: Cicero

His judgment could have been severely diminished by the psychiatric medications he was taking. There is voluminous evidence that some of these drugs can cause suicidal thoughts and feelings.

His soul has been commended now to the infinite Mercy of a loving God. That is all we really know.


32 posted on 09/15/2009 1:41:04 PM PDT by Deo volente
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To: NYer

I was a parishioner at St. Theresa’s while Fr. Dennis was there. He was truly an amazing man. I’m not a very big church goer, but I was there every sunday when he was serving mass. He always talked fondly of his time in the military, and he had lots of funny(and some sad) stories to tell as well. Sadly he had a family history of alcoholism, and that probably is what led to his death. He had been called back to Iraq for about a year, and when he came home he seemed changed. Things just never were right with him, and a few months later he was gone. I found out that he had gone back to drinking and he wasn’t going to be working in another parish. I know that it was a terrible blow to him to lose his appointment at St. Theresa’s.
I can barely look at his pictures, it just kills me to think of how such an amazing person had such terrible sadness in him. He was so kindhearted and loving. I remember once my little niece escaped us and climbed the altar during the end of mass. I was totally mortified, but Fr. Dennis picked her right up and continued mass with her. He made the church feel like a family, everyone was welcome there..It will never ever be the same without him.
I just feel so terrible about this..I almost wish I hadn’t found out...


33 posted on 09/16/2009 3:24:36 PM PDT by agirlfromRI
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To: agirlfromRI

Thank you for sharing your memories of this priest. Life often poses unexpected challenges to be overcome. Perhaps that is why the Catholic Church encourages us to read the lives of the saints, especially those with the same debilitating vices, so we can draw courage and strength from their journeys.


34 posted on 09/16/2009 3:40:44 PM PDT by NYer ( "One Who Prays Is Not Afraid; One Who Prays Is Never Alone"- Benedict XVI)
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To: NYer

Father Dennis was an awesome Marine and Chaplain. He married my wife and me on Jan 17, 1998. In his homily, he spoke of the marathon that we were to embark on together, an even greater challenge than the USMC Marathon that we had just run together in Oct, 1998. I thought of him often, and in fact called his parrish and got his cell phone number about three weeks ago, and hadn’t yet called when I saw the news.

Father Dennis was a special person to me, and to everyone I knew who ever met him.

I hope that he knew how many people cared so much for him as he ran his own marathon, one that led him to Vietnam, where he was one of six Marines in his company of over 100 to leave Hue City alive, to the priesthood, and to serve again with Marines in Iraq in 2007, and back to being a parrish priest.

Semper Fi, Father.


35 posted on 09/19/2009 9:13:48 PM PDT by kuniholm (Capt Jon Kuniholm (USMC-Ret))
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