Monsignor Richard Lavalley, Saint Francis Xavier Church

Twenty-seven year old Richard Lavalley was ordained to the priesthood on May 16, 1964. In his more than fifty years as a priest, Monsignor Lavalley has worked tirelessly for thousands of parishioners and, at a time when many of his peers are retired, he shows no signs of slowing down. Besides presiding over Saint Francis Xavier Parish and School for the past 22 years, he is also the Vicar for Clergy for the Diocese, a member of the Rice Memorial High School Board, and Chaplain at Norwich University.

Monsignor Lavalley has always had a love for Catholic education. His first assignment as a priest was at St. Peter’s in Rutland where he was active at the parish school and taught religion at nearby Mount St. Joseph Academy. He served as principal there for nine years. Even after leaving Mount St. Joseph for parish and diocesan work, Monsignor would make a point of serving Mass or teaching classes at local Catholic schools. He has been Chaplain at Norwich University since 1987, making over a two hour commute at least weekly during the school year.

His greatest gift to Catholic education is the love and leadership he brings to Saint Francis Xavier School. He attends board meetings, leads teachers’ retreats, advises administrators, meets with parents, presides over the school Masses, hears confessions and, most importantly, is there to counsel and console whenever someone needs him. To paraphrase Pope Francis, it is a demanding life, but full of joy.

Monsignor often mentions his special connection to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. “She has been with me all the way,” says Monsignor, speaking of his life as a priest. “She is the first one I go to in the morning and the last one I go to at night.”  It is fitting that a priest who perpetually helps others feels a bond with Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Thank you, Monsignor, for all you do.