PORTLAND — With thanks for his gracious and generous service, Bishop Robert P. Deeley has announced that the Rev. Roland P. Nadeau will retire from active ministry on Feb. 16, his 80th birthday.

Born in Lewiston on Feb. 16, 1936, Nadeau attended grammar school at St. Peter & St. Paul before graduating from St. Dominic Regional High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Providence College in 1961. In 1967, he joined the U.S. Army and was deployed to Vietnam where he served as a chaplain’s assistant during the Vietnam War.

“All you could see was God’s mercy all over the place,” said Nadeau. “I was shot at a few times but by the grace of God, I survived. He had a different plan for me.”

Nadeau completed his military service and began working for the postal service in 1969, the same year he fell in love with and married Catherine Flanigan at St. Mary Church in Bangor.

“Before we met, my wife was going to join the Sisters of Mercy,” said Fr. Nadeau. “Her dad drove her down to Portland, but on the way she said, ‘God doesn’t want me to go into this convent. He wants me to be married to a good, Catholic young man.’ Well, she met a good, Catholic man, but I don’t know how young he was!”

Together, they raised three sons before Catherine’s passing in 1985. Nadeau continued working for the postal service until 1996, when he says he felt a distinct call to the priesthood.

“How do you know God created the universe? You just do. I just knew,” said  Nadeau. “It was wonderful. When I was accepted to the seminary, Bishop Gerry asked me how I felt about it. I said, ‘I don’t know, but I think God has a sense of humor’.”

He completed his clerical studies at Pope John XXIII (now Pope Saint John XXIII) Seminary in Weston, Mass., earning a master’s of divinity degree in 2000. On May 13, 2000, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Joseph J. Gerry, OSB, at St. John Church in Bangor.

“After I was ordained, I was able to meet many of the priests at the annual clergy institute. When I met all the older priests, I introduced myself as the ‘baby with the white hair’,” Nadeau said with a laugh.

Nadeau served as parochial vicar at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish and St. Patrick Parish in Lewiston from June of 2000 to July of 2003 before being named chaplain at Mercy Hospital in Portland. A year later, he was appointed chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor. In July of 2010, in addition to his duties at the hospital, he was also named parochial vicar at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Bangor.

After retiring from active ministry, Nadeau will spend time with family and friends, including his three grandchildren, all of whom he baptized. He still plans on serving the parish when called upon.

“It’s a wonderful life,” said Nadeau. “I can never thank God enough.”


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