CHICOPEE — After almost 44 years of continuous service, Fr. Bill Tourigny will retire from full-time duties and enjoy time with his family.

Tourigny will officially retire from his full-time duties on March 1 but added, “I may be retiring but there is still work to be done before that.”

He discussed why he felt now was the right time to retire.

Tourigny said, “The demands are great and not that I am an unhealthy 70, I am a healthy 70-year-old. I just feel at 70 years old I’d rather go out on a high note than have people say, ‘gee why did he retire’ versus saying ‘gee why doesn’t he retire.’”

A native of Springfield, Tourigny attended St. Joseph Catholic Church and School and graduated from Cathedral High School, then Westfield State College, now university.

While attending college, he also worked in the A&P food store corporate office.

During that time, he was entertaining the idea of entering the seminary.

“When I was a college student, I was working in the advertising department of the Springfield division of A&P but also involved with my home church. I liked the corporate life, but I wanted something a little bit different to deal more with people versus corporate world,” Tourigny said.

He was accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese of Springfield and chose to attend Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Tourigny added, “I received a lot of support from my family which is always important. To have family support on such a big decision is really great.”

He was ordained in 1980, having successfully earned a master’s degree in sacred theology.

“I have been serving as a priest now, May 24, 2024 will be 44 years of continuous service and after 44 years, I think it was just time to retire from the administration of a parish today. There is a lot of administrative work that’s involved with being a pastor as well as being a priest. You have the business side and you also have the pastoral side and the business side is creeping in on us,” Tourigny added.

Tourigny’s first assignments took him to North Adams, where he also served as chaplain to the Newman Association at North Adams State College.

Later, he was reassigned as parochial vicar to the following parishes: Our Lady of Hope in Springfield, Ste. Rose de Lima in Chicopee, Holy Cross and St. Catherine of Siena in Springfield.

He then became pastor of St. Joseph and then Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Springfield.
He returned to Ste. Rose de Lima as pastor in 2005.

He added, “Chicopee has been a wonderful place for me to minister here in the city. People of Chicopee have been so supportive of my minister at Ste. Rose that it’s a city that I’ll never forget.”

Tourigny talked about what he enjoyed most about serving at different churches for so many years.

“I am a very people type person and I enjoy all of the friendships and relationships that have forged over the years. As a clergyman, so many people come in to the fabric of your life and they trust you with such important things in their life,” Tourigny said.

Although he will retire from full-time duties, Tourigny said he will continue to perform priestly ministries on a part time basis, while enjoying more time with family, friends, and his favorite leisure activities of hiking, skiing and traveling.

He added, “I’d like to have a few years of no administration and a schedule that is kicked back a little bit and the best way to call it is doing per diem work. To cover parishes is one thing because you are doing what you really like to do, celebrating mass and greeting people and eliminates the administrative work of a pastor.”

Tourigny was also selected as this year’s Parade Marshal by the Chicopee St. Patrick’s Day Committee and said he looks forward to leading the Chicopee contingent in the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade on March 17.

He added, “They don’t choose a marshal kind of willy nilly, they want to make sure the person who is the marshal is worthy of their nomination. It’s overwhelming. I look at myself as just another human person who felt called to ministry and I never tried to be anybody else but who I was meant to be as a person and the people have responded. I must have touched peoples lives more than I could have even begun to have imagined.”

tgarnet@thereminder.com | + posts