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Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley has announced the appointment of Father Ronald Barker as new pastor for St. Joseph Parish in Wakefield, effective Oct. 2.
Although Father Barker will be the new pastor he will not be new to St. Joseph Parish. He served there as an associate for 11 years (1981-1992).
Father Barker is a Boston native and grew up in the Roslindale section of the city. He attended archdiocesan seminaries and was ordained to the priesthood at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross by Humberto Cardinal Medeiros on May, 17, 1975.
Immediately following ordination he was named associate pastor at St. Peter Parish in Gloucester. His appointment to Wakefield, also as an associate followed in 1981. In 1992 he was appointed a parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception in Revere and in 1998, as parochial vicar in St. Patrick Parish, Stoneham.
Three of Father Barker’s four assignments to date have been to parishes with parish schools, only his first at Gloucester did not have a school. The presence of a school has usually, but not always, been an indicator of a large and busy parish. It is safe to say that his most recent parish experience has been in large parishes, and thus he’s well prepared to go to Wakefield.
Father Barker is a quiet man and very even tempered, not easily riled, as they say. He will not be an unknown entity when he returns to Wakefield, though a few years older, he will still be the calm and steady guiding hand. He will probably get a lot of requests to celebrate particular marriages — the opening line will likely be: “Father Barker, my parents told me you baptized me when you were here … can you celebrate our wedding?”