FALL RIVER, Mass. — Father José Antonio Ferreira dos Santos, 89, died on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017 at Catholic Memorial Home.
Father dos Santos was ordained to the priesthood on July 19, 1953 in Pombeiro, Oporto by the Most Reverend D. Antonio Fereira Gomes. After ordination, Father dos Santos taught French, Latin, Greek, Holy Scriptures and music in connection with the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. He was a missionary in Mozambique, Africa; vice-rector and director of St. Joseph Seminary in Felgueiras; chaplain of St. Vincent de Paul College in Lisbon; chaplain of the Portuguese Merchant Marines as well as a preacher and Father Superior in Santa Quiteria, Felgueiras.
On Jan. 30, 1970, Father dos Santos arrived in Fall River and from 1970 until 1994, he served as parochial vicar of St. Michael Parish in Fall River, then at St. John the Baptist Parish and Immaculate Conception parishes in New Bedford. In June of 1994 until his retirement in 2003, he served as pastor of Our Lady of Health Parish in Fall River.
While a parochial vicar at St. John the Baptist Parish, Father dos Santos initiated the Parish Charismatic Prayer Group, remaining very involved in the renewal for the past 40 years, even as a member of the National Service Committee and diocesan liaison for the Diocese of Fall River. Besides many other ministries, Father dos Santos was also involved in the Portuguese Pre-Cana Preparatory Program.
Father dos Santos was born on Jan. 14, 1928, in Vila de Cucujaes, Portugal. He was son of the late Francisco Ferreira dos Santos and Clementina Dias Ferreira. He was predeceased by three sisters: Maria da Conceicao Ferreira dos Santos, Maria Lucinda Ferreira dos Santos and Maria Aldina Ferreira dos Santos; and three brothers, Joaquim Ferreira dos Santos, Alfredo Ferreira dos Santos and Manuel Ferreira dos Santos. He also had several nephews and nieces, all from Portugal and South Africa.
Father dos Santos’ funeral arrangements will be handled by the Cabral-Baylies Square Funeral Home. The wake will be on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, with a viewing of his body from 5 to 7 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Church in New Bedford, followed by a Mass in his memory at 7 p.m. A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 at 11 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church, 136 Earle Street in New Bedford.