Father Richard Thibeau
Father Richard Thibeau
Divine Word Father Richard Thibeau, a former seminary professor and parish priest in the Diocese of Trenton, died Nov. 17 at age 93.

Funeral services and burial were held in the Society of the Divine Word Chicago Province’s headquarters in early December.

Father Thibeau will be remembered in prayer Jan. 15 during the regularly scheduled 10 a.m. Mass in Holy Cross Church, 233 Adeline St., Trenton. Father Charles Muroah, parochial vicar of Sacred Heart Parish, Trenton, of which Holy Cross Church is a part, will celebrate the Mass.

Born in East Amherst, N.Y., in 1928, Father Thibeau began his studies with the Divine Word Missionaries’ Chicago Province in 1943; professed vows in 1949 and was ordained a priest in provincial headquarters in Techny, Ill., in 1957.

Father Thibeau was an instructor in two Divine Word seminaries including the one in Bordentown in the Trenton Diocese.

From the mid-1960s to the early 1970s he was parochial vicar of Our Lady of the Divine Shepherd Parish, a predominantly African-American parish – now part of Sacred Heart Parish, Trenton. During his tenure there, Father Thibeau worked with the Serra Club, an international Catholic organization that promotes and fosters vocations, and the Mayor of Trenton’s office to convert a dilapidated department store that was located opposite Trenton’s Battle Monument, into the Our Lady of the Divine Shepherd Cultural Center, a youth center and hub for community action projects. The Cultural Center was blessed by Bishop George W. Ahr in early 1968. A member of the North Trenton Neighborhood Council, a part of one of the city’s anti-poverty agencies, Father Thibeau established a preschool that cared for more than 100 children daily and a low-cost housing project to alleviate poverty in the area.

After leaving Trenton, Father Thibeau served in several missionaries in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and the Sierra Juarez Mountains, Mexico, where he built parishes and medical clinics. In 2016, Father Thibeau retired to the Divine Word residence at Techny and continued to support missionary projects in Mexico, including Instituto Infantil Teresita School in Morales.

Father Thibeau was predeceased by his parents and three siblings. He is survived by three sisters.

Memorial donations may be made for the care of the retired Divine Word Missionaries, c/o, The Rector, Divine Word Residence, 1901 Waukegan Rd., P.O. Box 6000, Techny, IL 60082-6000.