19 February 2018

Columban Fr John Lagomarsino RIP

Fr John Lagomarsino [Source]
(6 November 1939 - 3 February 2018)

John Lagomarsino was born on 6 November 1939 in Sacramento, California, USA, to Louis L. Lagomarsino and Helen (Higgins) Lagomarsino. He is survived by his older brother, Dr Paul Lagomarsino, and his younger sister Mrs Lucia Foster. He attended Sacred Heart Grade School, and later Christian Brothers High School (1953-55) as well as Sacramento Senior High School (1955-57). Afterwards, he attained a BA in History from Sacramento State College.

Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Sacramento  [Wikipedia]

In 1961 John joined the Peace Corps and was among the first group assigned to the Philippines. There he met the Columbans while teaching English as a Second Language in Ilog, Negros Occidental.

He returned to the United States in 1963 and applied to the Columban seminary. He began his studies at St Columban’s College and Seminary in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. His Spiritual Year (1964-65) was spent at the Columban seminary in Bristol, Rhode Island, now a retirement home for Columbans. Later, he studied Philosophy and Theology at St Columban’s Major Seminary, Milton, Massachusetts. He completed theology studies at St John Archdiocesan Seminary, Brighton, Massachusetts, where he received a Bachelor of Divinity degree in December 1969. With his Columban classmates he participated in the deaconate program in the Diocese of St Thomas, which covers the American Virgin Islands, under the guidance of Frs George Nolan and Thomas Normanly.

St Thomas, US Virgin Islands [Wikipedia]

Father John was ordained on 13 June 1970, at Sacred Heart Church, Sacramento, by Most Rev. Alden J Bell, Bishop of Sacramento. In September of that year, he returned to the Philippines where he began parish work in Isabela, Negros Occidental. After two years he went to Kabankalan and then to Dacongcogon. He later served as President of Binalbagan Catholic College and as Bursar at the Columban House in Batang, Himamaylan.

In 1977 he returned to the United States and, after doing a course in Clinical Pastoral Education, began a program in spiritual direction at the Center for Religious Development in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After the completion of the program he received a ThM degree from Weston School of Theology in May 1979. Upon returning to the Philippines, he was assigned to Ozamiz City, Mindanao, where he became the spiritual director for Columban seminarians on an Overseas Training Program.

Loading sugar cane, Bais, Negros Oriental [Wikipedia]
A familiar sight in the island of Negros

In 1980 Father John returned to the United States where he did promotion and vocation work in San Francisco from October through December. He then began accounting studies at Creighton University, Omaha, and served as Assistant Regional Bursar. Later, in March 1983 he became the Regional Bursar.

After the death of his mother in March 1982, Father John and his father took a trip to Italy. They stayed at the Columban house in Rome, and then went to Genoa to visit their ancestral home village of Lagomarsino. 

From May 1989 until April 1991 Father John was engaged in Mission Awareness and Vocation work in Quincy, Massachusetts. However, wishing to be near his elderly father, he asked permission to do parish work in the Sacramento area, and was assigned as Parochial Vicar to St John the Evangelist Parish in Carmichael, California. His father died in February 1992. In 1996 Father John became the administrator of the parish where he served until his retirement in 2005.

During his time in St John the Evangelist Parish and later in retirement, Fr Lagomarsino dealt with several health issues. Then, he fell and broke his hip last December, which exacerbated those health issues. As a consequence, he was moved from Sacramento, California, to Saint Elizabeth Manor, Bristol, Rhode Island, at the end of January. The Regional Health Care Coordinator, Pam Serbst, ensured that he received the support and care he needed during his final illness. His classmate, Fr Chuck Lintz, and Fr Jim Dwyer were with him at the time of his death at Philip Hulitar Hospice Center, Providence, Rhode Island.

Father John’s funeral Mass took place on 16 February at St Columban’s, Bristol, Rhode Island, with Fr Mark Mengel as the principal celebrant and Fr Chuck Lintz as the homilist; the burial afterwards was in St Mary’s Cemetery, Bristol. May he rest in peace.

Statue of St Columban
St Columban's, Bristol, Rhode Island

1 comment:

Ruth Ann Pilney said...

Thank you for this detailed tribute to Fr. Lagomarsino. I am grateful for his sacrifices, faithfulness, and service to the Church. May he Rest In Peace.