Father Bernard Welch

Father Bernard WelchPlease pray for the repose of the soul of Father Bernard Welch, who died on May 14, 2024, at age 89, four days shy of his 90th birthday.

Father Welch was born May 18, 1934, in Portland, the son of Margaret Mary (O’Donnell) Welch Woods and stepson of Owen Francis Woods.

He was a 1952 graduate of Cheverus High School in Portland and then joined the U.S. Air Force, serving at Loring Air Force Base, while raising money for college.

He went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in history and government from the University of Maine and then a master’s degree in legislative affairs from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., followed by advanced studies at the University of Colorado.

He worked at the Central Intelligence Agency as an analyst, at Pan American World Airways as the manager of public affairs, and with the United States Secretary of Transportation as an aviation congressional relations officer.

Father Welch said he had long felt a call to the priesthood, and at age 43, he finally decided to act on it, taking time off from his job to enter Pope John XXIIII Seminary in Weston, MA. He never went back. He received a Master of Divinity degree from the seminary and was ordained a priest there by Bishop Amadée Proulx, bishop of Portland, on May 2, 1981.

His assignments in the Diocese of Portland included serving in Cape Elizabeth, Brewer, Lubec, Portland, and Caribou, an assignment that included serving as chaplain at Loring Air Force Base. He became an Armed Forces chaplain, serving members of the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine for 28 years before retiring from active and reserve military service.

In 1991, Father Welch awarded a Navy Achievement Medal from the Department of the Navy for his work assisting families impacted by Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Funeral Services

May 28, 2024 - Reception of the body and evening prayer at 4 p.m. at St. John the Baptist Church, 39 Pleasant Street in Brunswick, with Father Philip Tracy presiding. Fr. Welch’s visitation will continue till 7:00 p.m.

May 29, 2024 - A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Bishop James Ruggieri at 10 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Church, 39 Pleasant Street in Brunswick. Burial will follow with military honors at St. John the Baptist Cemetery, Brunswick. 

Father Raymond PicardFather Raymond Picard

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Father Raymond Picard, a priest of the Diocese of Portland, who passed away on April 20, 2024, at the age of 83.

Fathe Picard was born on September 8, 1940, in Biddeford, the first of 10 children. He grew up on a farm in Saco. After completing eighth grade, he attended St. Hyacinth P.Q. and later St. Paul’s Seminary in Ottawa, Ontario.

He was ordained a priest by Bishop Daniel Feeney on May 22, 1965, and served at many parishes during his 45 years of active ministry. They included serving as assistant pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Portland, St. John in Rumford, St. Francis de Sales in Waterville, St. Joseph in Old Town, and St. Ignatius in Sanford. In 1977, he was named pastor of the mission of St. Anne at Peter Dana Point, followed by pastor of St. Joseph in Sinclair and Holy Family in Daigle in 1968. He would later serve as pastor of St. Athanasius & St. John Parish in Rumford, St. Patrick in Newcastle, Our Lady Queen of Peace in Boothbay Harbor, and Sacred Heart in Yarmouth and St. Jude in Freeport.

Funeral Services:

Reception of the Body & Liturgy of the Hours – Thursday, April 25, at 3 pm. at Sacred Heart Church, 326 Main Street, Yarmouth. Father Picard will lie in state in the church until 6 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial – Friday, April 26, at 10:30 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church, 326 Main Street in Yarmouth, celebrated by Bishop Robert Deeley

Burial – Friday, April 26, at 3 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Cemetery, 380 Academy Hill Road, Newcastle.

Father Albert ColpittsFather Albert Colpitts

Please join in praying for the repose of the soul of Father Albert Colpitts who died Saturday, March 30, 2024, at the age of 81.

Father Colpitts was born in Biddeford on August 25, 1942, to Thomas A. and Helen M. Dubois Colpitts. He was educated in Biddeford schools, graduating from Biddeford High School in 1960.

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Holy Apostles Seminary College in Cromwell, Connecticut, and then studied at Niagara University Seminary of Our Lady of Angels in Albany, New York, for three years before pursuing graduate studies at St. Paul’s University Seminary, Ottawa, Ontario. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 2, 1973, at St. Patrick Church in Lewiston.

He served as a parochial vicar at the parishes of St. Martin of Tours in Millinocket, Sacred Heart in Waterville, St. Mary of the Assumption in Augusta, St. John the Evangelist in South Portland, and St. Patrick in Lewiston. He was then appointed pastor of Catherine Sienna Parish in Norway, where he remained for nine years, before serving as pastor of St. Edmund Parish in Westbrook, followed by St. Christopher Parish in York, and then St. Matthew Parish in Limerick.

Father Colpitts was a member of the Knights of Columbus (Star of the Sea Council) in York. He was a former member of the Priest Senate of the Diocese of Portland and a former member of the Propagation of the Faith Council of the Diocese of Portland. He also attended Colby College Church Music Institute in Waterville.

Funeral Arrangements

Visiting hours are private.  

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Monday, April 8, 2024, at St. Joseph Church, 178 Elm Street, Biddeford. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Biddeford.

Memorial donations may be made in his name to: Clergy Benefit Plan of the Diocese of Portland, 510 Ocean Avenue, Portland, ME 04104.


Sister Jeannette RoySister Mary Jeannette Roy, RSR

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Sister Mary Jeannette Roy, RSR, the regional superior of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary who died on Sunday, March 3, at the age of 81. Sister Jeannette had just celebrated 60 years or profession in February.

Sister Jeannette was born on January 10, 1943, in Frenchville to Louis and Annette (Chasse) Roy.

She obtained a bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph's College of Maine in Standish and a master’s degree in spirituality from Creighton University in Nebraska.

She then entered the Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Rimouski, Quebec, Canada, in 1961, professing her religious vows on February 2, 1964.

Sister Jeannette taught for a number of years at the Dr. Levesque School in Frenchville. She also worked in vocation and retreat ministry for the sisters and held several leadership roles within the congregation including serving on the general council and as the motherhouse superior. She also served in pastoral ministry in Old Orchard Beach and worked to establish the congregation’s lay association.

Sister Jeannette was a quiet, peaceful presence wherever she went.  She died as she had lived, very peacefully.

Funeral Services:

Visitation: Monday, March 11, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Hope Memorial Chapel in Biddeford with prayers at 7 p.m.

Funeral: Tuesday, March 12, at 10 a.m. at St. Margaret Church in Old Orchard Beach

Committal: Thursday, March 14, at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Biddeford.

Sister Mary Kneeland, RSMSister Mary Kneeland, RSM

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Sister Mary Kneeland, RSM, who died peacefully on January 14, 2024, at St. Joseph’s Convent in Biddeford. She was 95 years ol.d

Sister Mary was born in New Haven, Conn., to John J. Kneeland and Catherine Carey. Her family later moved to Massachusetts and then Maine, where she was employed at Union Mutual Insurance Co. before entering the Sisters of Mercy in 1958 from Holy Cross Parish, South Portland.

Sister Mary received a bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s College of Maine in Standish and was then appointed to ministry there, working in the business office and bookstore, while assisting with the Capital Fund Drive. She then continued her education, receiving a master’s degree in business administration from Suffolk University. She was appointed treasurer of Saint Joseph’s College and would serve at the college for more than 55 years.

In recognition of her contributions to the college, Sister Mary received an honorary degree in 2017, and the college unveiled the Sister Mary Kneeland Dining Room in her honor. She was recognized not only for her ability as treasurer but for her love for the students. Following her retirement as treasurer, she volunteered in the college library.

Sister Mary once stated, “My motto is: Thy Will Be Done. You try to operate your life that way knowing you are a messenger and God will take care of you.” As a Sister of Mercy this was her faith and it was the way she lived her life.  

Visiting Hours: Thursday, January 18, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. with a prayer service at 4 p.m. at Conroy-Tully Walker Chapel, 1024 Broadway, South Portland

Mass of Christian Burial: Friday, January 19, at Holy Cross Church, 124 Cottage Road, South Portland, followed by burial in Calvary Cemetery.