Obituary: Father Thomas J. Powers, Woburn pastor, former pastor in Lynnfield

Father Thomas J. Powers, the beloved pastor of St. Barbara and St. Anthony of Padua Parishes in Woburn, died at St. Barbara Rectory on May 20, 2022; it was the 27th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood by Bernard Cardinal Law at Holy Cross Cathedral.

Father Powers was born in Lynn, a son of the late Robert and Helen (Reynolds) Powers and brother of Brian, San Francisco, Calif.; Mary, Lynn; and Ann Gallagher, Reading. He attended St. Michael School, Lynn, and then St. John's Prep in Danvers; he was a member of the class of 1973 there. He graduated with a degree in political science from UMass-Amherst in 1977.

Prior to entering Pope St. John XXIII Seminary, Weston, he worked for a U.S. Congressman and the American Red Cross. Active in the parish where he lived in Malden, he received encouragement to study theology at Weston School of Theology, then in Cambridge, which led to his entry to Pope St. John in 1991.

Following his ordination, he served in archdiocesan parishes, most of them within several miles of his home town of Lynn. His first assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Agnes, Reading (1995-2000); and then as parochial vicar at St. Theresa of Lisieux, North Reading (2000-2003).

On May 12, 2003, Bishop Richard G. Lennon, then the apostolic administrator of the archdiocese, named him pastor of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Lynnfield, inching him closer to Lynn. In 2012, he was named by Cardinal O'Malley as pastor of the mother parish of Lynnfield, Our Lady of the Assumption, while remaining pastor of St. Maria Goretti. He also served on the Presbyteral Council (2011-2014).

He served briefly as a parochial vicar at St. Patrick, Stoneham (2013-2014) before he was named pastor of the two Woburn parishes: St. Barbara and St. Anthony of Padua by Cardinal O'Malley on June 1, 2018.

Over the past few years, Father Powers had been suffering from cancer, and even in precarious health, he served his Woburn parishioners with compassion, kindness, and fortitude. Following the notification of his death, parishioners from Woburn, Reading, North Reading, as well as friends from Lynn, expressed their admiration for him and their sadness at his death.

Cardinal O'Malley was scheduled to be the principal celebrant of Father Powers funeral Mass at St. Barbara Church, Woburn, on May 27, 2022. North Regional Bishop Mark O'Connell, a former parochial vicar at St. Barbara Parish, was to be a concelebrant and homilist; among the other concelebrants indicating their presence were Father Edmund U. Ugwoegbu, presently parochial vicar of St. Barbara and St Anthony parishes; Father Timothy Shea, senior priest in residence, St. Barbara; and Father Paulinus Emeka Nweke, priest in residence also at St. Barbara.

Committal services following the funeral Mass for Father Powers were private.