Father Santos was baptized in Christ at St. Elizabeth’s parish and grew up in Bristol as a student at St. Elizabeth’s catholic school. It was clear to his family and many who knew him that the heavenly calling to his Christian faith came to him at a young age. A graduate of Our Lady of Providence High School class of 1977, Father Santos went on to receive his BA in Philosophy from Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception-NY, graduating with honors. This true man of God was ordained a Deacon in July of 1987 and just 2 years later he was able to realize his life-long ambition and was proudly ordained into the Priesthood in Braga, Portugal by most Reverent d. Eurico Dias Nogueira of the Diocese of Braga in the presence of his loving family and many friends.
While in Braga he studied dogmatic theology at the Catholic University of Braga, and in 1989 with a work ethic that was unmatched, was eventually appointed Pastor of S. Paio in Pousada and St. Maria in Moure, ministering in both churches simultaneously for his entire tenure there. And in 1999, he was given pastoral duties at yet a third church, St. Eulalia in Crespos. With his faith resolute and his unquenchable desire for scholarly enrichment, Father Santos left Portugal at the end of 1999 to pursue graduate studies, becoming a candidate for the master’s program in Dogmatic Theology at the Pontifical University of Maynooth / Maryvale Institute – UK as a student in-residence for the Diocese of Westminster at St. Mary and St. Michael in London until 2002. Impressive accomplishments all, indeed.
With growing concerns for an aging father, he returned home in 2003 to his welcoming family who had almost forgotten how much they had missed his old-fashioned disposition, his quirky sense of humor, his voracious appetite, and his stubbornness. He was now present to officiate family weddings, baptize their babies, concelebrate masses of first communion and confirmation, and leading family and friends to bid farewell to the dearly departed with the most solemn masses of Christian burial. And he performed all of these duties perfectly and like no other, sometimes unable to control his emotions. And he was loved for his display of humanness. He eventually took up temporary residence at St Elizabeth’s parish in Bristol and eventually accepted the appointment as pastor and administrator at the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus in Providence. The Diocese of Providence realized that Father Joe was a “workhorse” and welcomed him back with open arms. The parish community at Holy Name could not have been more pleased and delighted with their new Pastor, who took his responsibilities so seriously, treated people with respect, was humble, loving, and not condescending. He was truly loved by all.
The biggest source of pride for Father Santos was his reverence for the Latin mass, which he performed magnificently, with great sincerity, and unwavering faith. He had a great love for catholic traditions of the past and wasn’t ashamed to admit it and defend his position in fearless fashion and passion. A close friend and colleague once commented (with respect, humor, and love) that “Father Joe was born in the wrong century” (much to the enjoyment of Father Joe).
Father Joseph Daniel Santos was not just a “man of the cloth” but a son, brother, grandson, uncle, nephew, cousin, godfather, mentor, and friend. He was unique and complicated and a good and decent man. A good shepherd in a world that needs people like him now more than ever. While he will be missed immensely, his family rejoices in the knowledge that today Father Santos looks upon the face of the living god.
He is survived by his niece’s Jane Glass (Richard), Mary Gerhard (Carl), Kim Santos (Tracy), and Karen Cabral (Dennis). Also, his nephew’s Joseph Pasqual (Laurie), and Keith Santos (Aiofe), and predeceased by nephews John Pasqual III and Kenneth Santos. Father Santos is survived by his loving cousin Dorothy Castro, cousin and lifelong friend John Marine, and so many cousins in Vermont whom he loved, and many great nieces and great nephews, and his colleagues and dear friends Father Lazarus and Father Jude.
A Solemn Latin Mass of Requiem will be held Saturday at 10am in Holy Name Church, Camp Street in Providence. Calling hours will be held Friday in The Lady Chapel at Holy Name Church from 4 to 7pm. Burial will be in Saint Mary’s Cemetery, Bristol. In lieu of flowers, it was Father Joe’s wish that donations in his memory may be made to the Alter Restoration Fund for Holy Name Church, 99 Camp Street, Providence, RI 02906
99 Camp Street
Providence, RI 02906
Visiting hours will be in The Lady Chapel at Holy Name Church
Providence, RI 02906