On 4 January 1978, Father John R. Folster, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Fall River, became the 16th pastor of Saint Anne’s. The secular priest was warmly welcomed by the Dominicans and place was made in the monastery for his own residence and the space needed for the administration of the parish.
Not a stranger to Saint Anne, Father Folster had been a student at the parish school, an altar boy in the parish church, and an aide to Father Marchildon at the shrine for many years. A priest for 19 years, he had a varied background of pastoral work that had blended parish work with diocesan educational and social service posts. His dozen years service as noted Fire Department chaplain made him well-known to parishioners also.
With the permission of the Dominican authorities, the Dominican Fathers who resided at Saint Anne’s in January 1978 elected to remain in Fall River. Five priests would volunteer to work as assistants to the Parish and Shrine; one would continue pastoral care at Saint Anne Hospital; others would continue to serve various parishes on weekends, and the retired would live among the people they had in serving grown to love dearly.
Somehow, the great Dominican apostolates would go on, in younger hands not wearing white robes and cowls, but it will go on. Parishioners of this great parish have not only witnessed and watched great examples of Christian commitment flash before them, they have been enlivened by it; they too have committed themselves. Saint Anne’s, over a hundred years old, is proud of its ninety years of Dominican example and dedication. It shall not forget, it shall never forget.