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St. Bartholomew Church 1878-2009

Father Edward Dyer

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Father Edward J. Dyer
1913 - 2007

July 6th, 1913  - September 29th, 2007

Father Edward Dyer, who celebrated mass at St.Bartholomew Church for over twelve years passed away on September 29th, 2007 at the age of 94.  For many parishoners he was an answered prayer that kept the parish open and a family together.  Father Dyer's retirement just prior to his 90th birthday didn't mean that our love for him would decrease, the parishoners of St. Bartholomew didn't let him slip out of their minds.  Father Dyer was often brought back to Bondsville to concelebrate masses and for his birthday celebration.  Many parishoners visited him faithfully until his death. Father Dyer served many parishes throughout his religious life in both the Springfield and Worcester Diocese and touched many lives along the way.  The parishoners of St. Bartholomew Church in Bondsville remain proud that they were able to be a part of Father Dyer's life.  Although Father Dyer was an only child, the parishoners of St. Bartholomew in Bondsville were honored to be his brothers and sisters in faith.

The following article appeared in the Sunday Republican on August 29th, 1999 and was written by Tom Shea.
Bondsville - He said yes. That's how the story began eight years ago, at the dinner following the Rev. Marcus Murtough's funeral. 
     Parishoners of St. Bartholomew's Church in the Bondsville section of Palmer were in mourning for there beloved priest.  The sadness was mixed with fear: St. Bartholomew's is a small parish with a mostly elderly population.
     With the shortage of priests, theirs was just the kind of church that was a prime candidate for being closed.  Parishoner's weren't ready for yet another death. 
     The dinner following Father Murtough's funeral was held at the Storrowtown Tavern in West Springfield.  In attendance was a friend, the Rev. Edward J. Dyer of Worcester.  He was pushing 80, but his age hardly showed.  Full of vigor, gregarious and funny, he charmed a table full of strangers. 
     One dared to ask: "You wouldn't like a job, would you?"
     It turns out he did.
     Father Edward J. Dyer - Eddie to his friends - had been retired six years.  Ordained at St. Michael's Cathedral on June 7, 1941, he'd spent much of his career as a parish priest in the Worcester Diocese before retiring in Febuary of 1985.
     Retirement didn't mean inactivity.  He offered Masses each Monday at an Alzheimer's unit in Worcetster. He regularly made trips to Maine to treat his two aunts to lobster feasts. He continued to study and enjoy his many interests: theological dogma, world affairs, sports, opera. His collection of puns and jokes continued to grow.
     Father Dyer said yes to St. Bartholomew's eight years ag because he is a man who can't say no to those in need.
     He's 86, now.  A bum knee remains his only concession to age.  He always arrives early and stays late for his twice-weekly hour long trip from his Worcester apartment to the Bondsville Church. 
     He celebrates the 4 p.m. vigil on Saturdays and the 9 a.m. Mass on Sunday.  His very presence is a prayer answered.
     The parishoners ren't simply happy to have a cleric - they genuinely enjoy his sermons, despite the talks being legendary for their length and breadth.
     As one elderly parishoner told him, "I fell asleep when we were in Fenway Park and I woke up when we were in Jerusalem.  I'm sure it was a great trip."
     She wasn't complaining, and Father Dyer took the comment as a compliment.  He's like that.
     One Christmas he recieved a card that showed Santa dropping a bag of gifts outside an outhouse.  The punchline read: "I said the Schmidt House!" Father Dyer must have shown that card to every adult in the parish.
     And everyone seems to have a Father Dyer story.  It usually involves kindness, thoughtfullness, generosity and a laugh.
     He likes laughter and people.  Just two reasons why he hangs around town after Mass.
       And it's not just to collect compliments on how his new white beard makes him look like Ernest Hemingway.  Post-Mass, he's holding court at the town's Burger King, ignoring his food, all his attention poured into relating his latest jokes, trying out the newest puns, worrying about the Red Sox, yet always listening, always making himself available.
     If someone should ask him to pray for a relative or friend, the priest writes down the name as a reminder - in ink - on his wrist.  Should anyone ask him to visit an ill friend or relative, rest assured that Father Dyer and his big blue Mercury Marquis will not only find the person but he'll stay for awhile.
     To share a prayer A laugh.  Eight years later, to still say yes.


A picture taken on Easter of 2003 to remind Father Dyer how much we ALL missed him.


Father Dyer happily enjoying his 87th birthday party.


Father John McDonagh, Father Eugene Plasse, Father Dyer, and Representative Stephen Brewer celebrating Father Dyer's 60th Anniversary as a priest.


Father Dyer's 60th Ordination Anniversary Mass.


Eric Raymond and Father Dyer at Father Dyer's 60th anniversary of his ordination.


A cake for Father Dyer's 90th birthday party.


Father Dyer and the altar servers of St. Bartholomew Parish.


CLINTON— Reverend Edward J. Dyer, 94, formerly of Clinton, died on Saturday, September 29, 2007 in the Life Center of Auburn after an illness.

He was born in West Lynn, son of the late Edward E. and Gertrude V. (Mahan) Dyer, and was a graduate of St. Peter High School. After completing studies at the College of the Holy Cross, he attended the Seminary of Philosophy and the Grand Seminary in Montreal, Canada.

Rev. Edward J. Dyer was ordained a priest on June 7, 1941 by Bishop Thomas O’Leary in St. Michael Cathedral in Springfield, at a time when Worcester was still part of the Springfield Diocese. Following his ordination, he was named associate pastor of St. Thomas Parish in West Springfield, St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Milford, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Hopedale. He also served the communities of St. Leo Parish in Leominster, Blessed Sacrament Parish in Worcester and St. Joseph Parish in Auburn. In July of 1962 Fr. Dyer was named pastor of St. Anne Parish in Southboro until his transfer to St. Joseph Parish in Barre. He later served ten years as pastor of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Lancaster and retired from active ministry on February 28, 1985 as pastor of St. Catherine of Sweden Parish in Worcester.

Fr. Dyer is survived by cousins, Dorothy Carima of West Boylston, Grace Lynch and John T. Mahan, both of Clinton, Mary Duckett of Illinois, Eleanor Barker of Louisiana, Rose Pasquale of Clinton; numerous relatives and many dear friends.