Father Lionel A. Blain


WOONSOCKET — The Reverend Lionel A. Blain, 85, pastor emeritus of St. Joseph Church, Woonsocket, Rhode Island, died on Saturday, August 22. Born in Woonsocket, he was the 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 by the Most Reverend Archbishop Aloisius Traglia.

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, DC (1956) and 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 was also a columnist for the Providence Visitor (“Question & Answer”) (1963-1966) and the author of several philosophical articles. In recent years, he lived at the Villa at St. Antoine in North Smithfield.

Father Blain is survived by a brother Fernand Blain of Woonsocket, and by four sisters, Lucille Salhany of North Smithfield; Laetitia M. Blain of Dedham, Massachusetts; Paulette LaBarre of Auburn, Massachusetts; and Francoise Dowling of Woonsocket. He is also survived by nine nephews and nieces and three grandnephews and nieces.

A concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial was offered for the repose of his soul on August 29 in St. Joseph Church, Woonsocket with Bishop Thomas J. Tobin as the main celebrant, Father Robert Marciano as the homilist and Bishop Robert C. Evans and other priests concelebrating. Burial was in St. Jean Baptiste Cemetery, Bellingham, Mass.