Most retired priests are never really retired. Instead, they continues to minister to the community at large and assist pastors in all the surrounding towns.

That is what Fr. Ralph Tetrault did. Despite serious heart problems and several heart attacks, he could be found at several area parishes doing what he loved best. Serving God and the faithful.

After he retired, he was given a small organ and decided that he was going to learn to play. He took organ lessons and we even appeared in a few recitals together.

I was blessed to know Fr. Tetrault as a priest, friend, and fellow musician. He will be deeply missed.


Rev. Ralph D. Tetrault, 68, of Fall River died Saturday January 13, 2007 at Catholic Memorial Home.

Born in New Bedford on October 16, 1938, he was the son of the late Norman G. and Mary Jesse (Langford) Tetrault. He was a graduate of Holy Name School in New Bedford and Fairhaven High School, Class of 1956. He began his studied for the Priesthood at St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, Conn., receiving an Associates Degree in 1959 and a Bachelors Degree in 1961 from St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore.
Father Tetrault was ordained a priest on May 1, 1965 in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River, by the Most Reverend James J. Gerrard, Auxiliary Bishop of the Fall River Diocese. His assignments as a Parochial Vicar included Immaculate Conception Parish, Fall River (1965-1969), St. Patrick’s Parish, Wareham (1969-1974), Sacred Heart Parish, Fall River, (1974-1977), and St. Thomas More Parish, Somerset (1977-1981).

He served as Pastor of St. Mary’s Parish, North Attleboro from 1981-1994. He was the Pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish, Wareham from 1994 until his retirement from active ministry in January 1998 due to failing health. In retirement he resided in Fall River at the Cardinal Medeiros Residence for Retired Priests, while celebrating Mass at the former Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Swansea, St. Dominic’s Parish, Swansea, and St. Thomas More, Parish, Somerset.

Survivors include four brothers, Norman of Margate, FL, Wayne and Paul, both of New Bedford, and Gregory of Westport; four sisters, Susan Bryan-Royster of Gloucester; Nancy Rochon of Cumberland, RI, Pamela Silva of Dartmouth; and Valerie Fogarty of Worcester; and many nieces and nephews.

He was the brother of the late Maryann J. DeMelo.

Father Tetrault will be transferred to Holy Name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, 121 Mount Pleasant St., New Bedford on Tuesday at 2 PM, where he will lie in state until a Wake Service at 7 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday at 11 AM, with Bishop George Coleman as principal celebrant. Burial will be in Sacred Heart Cemetery. Please do not send flowers. Remembrances may be made to the Cardinal Medeiros Residence, 375 Elsbree St., Fall River, MA 02720. For directions and guestbook, please visit http://www.saundersdwyer.com.

I pray that at this moment the Lord is embracing you and saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Well done”.

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