Bishop Robert Deeley announced that Monsignor René Mathieu has been appointed temporary administrator of All Saints Parish, which includes St. Charles Borromeo Church, Brunswick; St. John the Baptist Church, Brunswick; St. Mary Church, Bath; Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, Boothbay Harbor; St. Ambrose Church, Richmond; St. Patrick Church, Newcastle; and St. Katharine Drexel Church, Harpswell.

Monsignor René Mathieu Contributed

The appointment is effective Wednesday.

Mathieu succeeds the Rev. Tom Murphy, who passed away on Monday, Sept. 20, according to a news release from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

“I invite you to praise the Lord for all the graces the parish has received through the beautiful and generous ministry of Fr. Tom,” the bishop wrote in a letter to All Saints parishioners. “We will continue to keep Fr. Tom in our prayers asking the Lord to bring him to rest in peace, confident that the Lord will know his faithful servant.”

Mathieu has served in parishes in Saco, Biddeford, Old Orchard Beach, Lyman, Biddeford, Auburn, Lewiston and Caribou.

He has served as vice-chancellor of the Diocese of Portland and as a member of the Diocese of Portland’s Presbyteral Council.

According to All Saints Parish Business Coordinator Charleen Foley, Murphy will be remembered as a supportive boss, her own priest and a close friend. He began his position at All Saint Parish in June 2016.

“He was a very kind and gentle man, his love for Christ was very apparent,” said Foley. “The way he interacted with people and made people feel part of this parish community was amazing.”

The community received the news with shock, Foley said, and the parish received calls from throughout the state expressing sadness and disbelief. At the time of his passing, Foley said Murphy was working to reopen the doors to the church in a safe way, and invite people back amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most notably, Foley said, Murphy was a skilled homilist.

“He was able to relate the homily to everyday life, and also interpret it in a way that everyone could understand it,” Foley said. “He did amazing things with homily.”

Mathieu retired from Good Shepard Parish in the Biddeford/Saco area in August 2020. Mathieu also knew Murphy, and said he considered him a friend and a colleague.

“We retired priests try to make ourselves available to be helpful to parishes as we are needed,” Mathieu said. “My job as administrator is not to succeed him, it’s simply to keep the seat warm for his successor.”

Mathieu expects to hold the position until the end of the year, and said he does not plan to begin any new projects, but instead work with and support the staff to keep the parish stable.

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