ROCKLAND, Maine — The priest who led the Maine delegation to World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto, the last time Pope John Paul II visited North America before his death, will take over leadership of a midcoast parish that stretches from Camden to Belfast and includes two islands.
The Rev. Robert C. Vaillancourt, 62, a Lewiston native, will become pastor of St. Brendan the Navigator Parish June 1. The parish includes Catholic churches in Camden, Rockland, Belfast, Islesboro and Vinalhaven.
The Roman Catholic diocese of Portland announced the assignment in a news release issued Sunday.
While his title on the Toronto trip was spiritual director, “Father Bob” also functioned as tour guide, cheerleader, water boy and dispenser of vital information to many of the 350 young people and their chaperones who went to see Pope John Paul II. The priest also has been known to sing an entire Mass.
Vaillancourt has served since 2013 as a hospital chaplain at Maine Medical Center and Mercy Hospital, both in Portland, with weekend duties at the Parish of the Holy Eucharist in Falmouth. He graduated from St. Dominic Regional High School before earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Maine in Orono and another in theology from St. Paul University in Ottawa. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Edward C. O’Leary on Aug. 14, 1982, at what is now the Basilica of St. Peter and Paul in Lewiston.
Over the years, he has served at parishes in Biddeford, Madawaska, East Millinocket, Old Town, Hampden, Winterport and Rumford. He also has served as diocesan director of the Office of Vocations and the youth ministry at different times.
The diocese also announced Sunday that the Rev. Paul G. Murray has been named the administrator of Our Lady of the Lakes Parish with churches in Oquossoc, Rangeley, Stratton and the chapel at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain effective June 1.
The native of Cambridge, Massachusetts, was ordained by Bishop Richard J. Malone on May 30, 2009, at Holy Family Church in Lewiston. Murray has served since August 2014 as residential care chaplain in the parishes of Immaculate Heart of Mary in Auburn and Prince of Peace in Lewiston.
Prior to entering the seminary, Murray was a member of the Madonna House Community in Ontario, Canada, for 19 years. The Catholic community of lay men, women and priests serve in a mission capacity in more than 10 countries worldwide. Murray served in hospitality and maintenance at the community center in Ontario, a hostel in the Yukon, a retreat center in England and a soup kitchen in Saskatchewan.