Priest Moved 20 Times: 4 Countries, 3 States, 8 Counties, 10 Cities
By Siobhan Fleming, PhD
In the book, "Dictionary of Basilian Biography" published in 2005, editor Rev. P. Wally Platt, CSB described Rev. Simon Raphael O'Loughlin, CSB as popular with children, playful and 6'8" tall. O'Loughlin died in 1998, but it wasn't until January 31, 2019 that the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (ADGH) revealed he had been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor.
When the ADGH published the names of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors, Fr. O'Loughlin was not one of the more well known priests on the list. He was a member of the religious order of priests, the Congregation of St. Basil (CSB). The Handbook of Texas Online describes the history of the Basilian Fathers, as they are known, in Texas. The Canadian order of priests have been in Houston since 1900 when they founded St. Thomas High School.
O'Loughlin was a Canadian by birth, but you wouldn't have known that from the scant information included in the Clergy Disclosure List from ADGH. Indeed, the ADGH included only four assignments for Rev. O'Loughlin despite the fact that his priestly ministry spanned more than 50 years in four countries (Platt, 2005). Here is the information provided by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston:
Raphael O’Loughlin, CSB
Religious: Basilian Fathers Birth Year: 1916 Ordained: 1942 Status: Deceased 1998
Holy Family, Missouri City
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Rosenberg
St. Basil (Most Holy Trinity), Angleton
St. Thomas High School
Here is a closer look at Fr. O'Loughlin
Born: May 7, 1916, Ontario, Canada
High School: 1933, Catholic Central (a Basilian school), Detroit, MI.
*Professed: 1934, St. Basil's Novitiate, Toronto, Ontario
College: 1938. B.A., Assumption College/University of Western Ontario.
Seminary: St. Basil's Seminary, Toronto, Ontario
Ordained: 1942 in Toronto, Ontario
Religious Order: Congregation of St. Basil (CSB)
Retired: 1993, Houston
Died: March 19, 1998.
During the course of his ministry, Rev. Raphael "Ralph" O'Loughlin cut a broad swath moving 20 times to: 4 Countries, 3 U.S. States, 8 counties and 15 distinct cities, according to Platt.
He had three separate stints in the Houston area for a total of 35 years:
First Time in Diocese of Galveston-Houston
Years: 1943 - 1948
Total Time Spent: 5 years.
1943-1944: St. Thomas High School, Houston*
1944-1948: Basilian Fathers Hispanic Missions in Rosenberg and Angleton
*St. Thomas High School released a statement that O'Loughlin was not on the faculty during the time period referenced by the Archdiocese.
NB: The time period referenced by the Archdiocese in relation to the abuse allegation was not released to the public.
Second Time in Diocese of Galveston-Houston
Years: 1950 - 1962
Total Time: 12 years
1950-1957: Rosenberg, Texas, Mission Center (assistant pastor)
1957-1962: St. Basil's Mission Center, Angleton, Texas (assistant pastor)
Third Time in Diocese of Galveston-Houston
Years: 1980 - 1998
Total Time: 18 years
1980-1982: Basilian Fathers Home and Foreign Missions, Sugar Land, TX
1982-1985: Holy Family Parish, Missouri City, TX (assistant pastor)
1985-1986: St. Joseph's Mission Center, Sugar Land, TX ("doing research in mission archives")
1986-1993: St. Thomas High School, Houston, TX (retired, but "continued research and preaching for Basilian missions and assisted Spanish masses…including in Cali, Colombia")
1993-1998: Dillon House, Houston, TX (retired at Basilian Fathers Residence in Montrose area)
Here are the 15 distinct cities (in alpha order) he was assigned to during his ministry:
*More than once.
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
London, Ontario, Canada
Mexico City, Mexico
Missouri City, Texas
Sugar Land, Texas
*Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I have organized O'Loughlin's known assignments, dates and locations in this table - subject to change when additional information is obtained.
Obituary of O'Loughlin, from Platt:
He was popular with children, first by his size and then by his playful manner...
The Brazosport Facts newspaper in May 1962 reported that he was a member of the Board of Directors for The Little School in Angleton, Texas. The Little School was designed to teach English to non-English speaking children.
The Herald newspaper in Jasper, Indiana reported that O'Loughlin was admitted to the hospital on January 15, 1968 and released January 22, 1968, during the time he was assigned to teach theology at the St. Meinrad School of Theology.
The Indianapolis Star published an article mentioning Fr. O'Loughlin's support of the seminarians in his charge in 1967 when they protested the draft on October 24, 1967.
The Archdiocese did not state if he had his faculties stripped or received any sort of punitive action. Fr. O'Loughlin was included in the 1997 Pictorial Roster of Priests of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston.
When he died in March 1998, the Detroit Free Press published his obituary April 23 1998 with quotes from parishioners and former colleagues who lauded him and said how wonderful he was with children. I wonder how that would make his victim(s) feel to see his obituary?
Notes and Sources:
*Professed: the first (temporary) vows after one year as a novice. "The Formation Process." Basilian Fathers. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
Handbook of Texas Online, R. E. Lamb, C.S.B., "BASILIAN FATHERS," accessed February 09, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ixb03.
Platt, Philip Wallace (2005). Dictionary of Basilian Biography: Lives of members of the Congregation of Priests of Saint Basil from Its Origins in 1822 to 2002. 2nd ed. Revised and augmented by P. Wallace Platt. Published for the Congregation of Saint Basil by University of Toronto Press First ed., published 1969.