Alumni Association of The Pontifical North American College

Lionel Blain






The Rev. Lionel A. Blain, 85, pastor emeritus of St. Joseph Church, Woonsocket, Rhode Island, died on Saturday, August 22, 2015. Born in Woonsocket, he was the beloved son of the late George and Marie-Rose (Auger) Blain, and attended St. Aloysius and Holy Family schools in Woonsocket.

In preparation for the priesthood, he studied at Our Lady of Providence Seminary in Warwick, Rhode Island; at the Seminaire de Philosophie in Montreal, Canada; and at the North American College in Rome, Italy. He was ordained a priest on July 18, 1954, in Rome.

Father Blain served as assistant pastor at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, Providence (1955-56) and then was assigned to further studies at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. (1956), where he received his Master’s in Philosophy and he then received his Ph.D in Philosophy at the University of Louvain, Belgium, (1957).

In January 1960, he was appointed professor at Our Lady of Providence Seminary in Warwick and in January 1973 as pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Pawtucket. In addition, in 1980, he was named administrator of St. Edward Church in Pawtucket.

In 1983, Father Blain was transferred to St. Joseph Church in Woonsocket and served as pastor there until his retirement in 2007. In addition to his other duties, Father Blain served from 1977-1980 as the representative of the Priest Senate to the Board for Continuing Education of the Clergy; from January 1987 on the Board of Advisors of the Diocesan Office of Catholic-Jewish Relations; and from 1987-1993 as a member of the Council of Priests and a member of the College of Consultors.

He also was a columnist for the Providence Visitor (“Question & Answer”) (1963-1966) and the author of several philosophical articles. He was a founding member of Woonsocket Shelter Community Action Program and served as its president for several years. He was the recipient of the “Hero of Faith” Award from the National Council of Churches in 2009. In recent years, he lived at the Villa at St. Antoine in North Smithfield.

Father Blain is survived by four sisters, Lucille Salhany of Cumberland, Laetitia M. Blain of Dedham, Mass., Paulette LaBarre and her husband George of Auburn, Mass., and Francoise Dowling and her husband John of Woonsocket. He also is survived by nine nephews and nieces, and 16 grand nephews and nieces. He was predeceased by a brother, Fernand Blain.

Calling hours will be held at St. Joseph Church, 1200 Mendon Road, Woonsocket, on Friday from 4-8 p.m., with a vigil service of “Office For The Dead” beginning at 4 p.m. A concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial will be offered on Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph Church. Burial will follow at St. Jean Baptiste Cemetery, Bellingham, Mass. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Fournier & Fournier Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, donations to Woonsocket Homeless Shelter, c/o Community Care Alliance, P.O. Box 1700, Woonsocket, RI 02895 Attn. Josie Byrd., or to St. Joseph’s Church, 1200 Mendon Rd., Woonsocket, RI 02895 in his memory would be appreciated. for guestbook.

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