New Digital Billboard at Shrine of St. Joseph in Memory of Fr. Terry O’Connell

Lowell, MA

By Rebecca Duda, Ed.D.

St. Joseph the Worker Shrine

As visitors to St. Joseph the Worker Shrine on Lee Street climb the stairs to the confessional lobby, they are greeted by a beautiful, electronic board which displays photographs of Shrine activities and provides messaging about Shrine happenings.  This new addition to the Shrine’s lobby is known as the “Digital Bulletin Board” and is a memorial to the late Fr. Terry O’Connell, OMI.

Fr. Terry O’Connell was born in Buffalo, NY to William and Ruth O’Connell.  He attended Bishop Fallon High School and then studied at Our Lady of Hope Oblate College in Newburgh, NY.  He earned degrees in Theology and Philosophy.  He was ordained to the priesthood on May 20, 1978 in Washington, DC at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

After his ordination, he was assigned to a mission in Bolivia.  After Bolivia, he returned to the United States and was assigned to the Immaculate Conception Parish here in Lowell.  Over the years, he also served in New York, Florida, and Washington, DC.  His last assignment was at St. Joseph the Worker Shrine.  He arrived in 2008 and served at the Shrine for 12 years.

He retired in 2020 to the Oblate Residence in Tewksbury and passed away on September 23, 2021.

Fr. Terry O’Connell, OMI

During his twelve years as Shrine Director, O’Connell was known for his ability to connect with people and effectively communicate with them. His presence at the Shrine over the years, and his ease with which he communicated with people, left an indelible impact on so many who frequented the Shrine.   

So, when people learned of his passing, it was not surprising that there was much discussion on how to honor his legacy of service at St, Joseph the Worker, but also to his entire 43 years of service as an Oblate Missionary priest.  What came about was the installation of a digital bulletin board.  Because O’Connell was known as a great communicator, it seemed fitting to install something that would communicate Shrine news and activities to everyone who visits the Shrine.

The digital bulletin board is updated several times a month.  Visitors will see photographs from Oblate missionaries serving around the world as well as from Shrine activities such as the Young Adult Group, Pure in Heart.  Visitors are also alerted to daily Mass and Confession times.  During special liturgical seasons such as Christmas or Easter, Mass times are updated.  Prayers and other mundane items, such as parking reminders, are also added to the digital bulletin board.  The digital bulletin board is a wealth of all things happening at St. Joseph the Worker Shrine. 

Current Shrine Director, Fr. Mike Amesse, says, “The Digital Bulletin Board has been a welcome addition to our Shrine.  It is also a fitting way to remember all the good Fr. Terry did for the people.  He truly was a “Great Communicator.  The Shrine has been blessed with many good Oblates.  Fr. Terry stands out among them” 

Donations were used purchase and install the equipment as well as the memorial signs to O’Connell.  The current monitor was donated by Dan Gibson and Julia Martin in memory of Gregory W. Gibson and Barabara Taylor.