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Father Stanton named pastor in Plainville

By Father Robert M. O’Grady
Posted: 3/12/2010

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Father Thomas Stanton Pilot photo


St. Martha Parish in Plainville was given a new pastor effective Feb. 20, 2010 with the appointment of Father Thomas J. Stanton. Cardinal O’Malley announced the appointment in a letter to Father Stanton who had up until now been the administrator of the parish, following the untimely death of Father J. Garret Thomson in early January.

Born in Boston on July 2, 1962 and raised in Needham, he grew up in St. Joseph Parish there. He is the youngest of the ten children (eight sons and two daughters) of the late Doctor Joseph and Mary (Gordon) Stanton. His father was a well-known Boston area physician who was in the forefront of the Pro-Life Movement and the founder of the Massachusetts Citizens for Life. Among Father Stanton’s aunts he could count three Discalced Carmelite Nuns.

Following his seminary formation at St. John’s, Brighton he was ordained by Bernard Cardinal Law at Holy Cross Cathedral on June 22, 1991. His first assignment was not far from home as parochial vicar at St. Bridget in Framingham. Following that assignment he was parochial vicar in two parishes named Scared Heart: Lynn (1992-1996) and East Boston (1996-1998).

In January 1999 he was named parochial vicar at St. Catherine of Alexandria in Westford where he served the rapidly growing parish until June 2006. He was then for five months a member of the Archdiocesan Emergency Response team.

Until the recent appointment as administrator of St. Martha, Plainville he had been the Chaplain at Massachusetts Correction Institute -- Cedar Junction, Walpole and also at Bay State Correction Facility, Norfolk. During those assignments he was in residence at the other parish in his hometown of Needham -- St. Bartholomew.

One of his brother priests said of him “He’s a wonderful priest. The people in Plainville will like him. He has a special gift for caring for and ministering to the sick and the elderly and is very attentive to those in nursing homes.”

His father, Doctor Stanton, probably served as a kind of model for his son. His father was beset by polio and undaunted, carried out his practice on crutches; his championing of human life especially that of the most vulnerable -- the unborn -- served his son as an impetus for effort in adversity and reaching those who are perhaps forgotten, ignored or overlooked.

The sudden and tragic death of the most recent pastor in Plainville will also require a man who can listen, know the pain of the parishioners and lead them out their understandable grief and help them continue in that family spirit that Father Thomson had so earnestly begun.