After leading Methuen Catholic – the parishes of St. Monica and St. Lucy – for the past six years, Pastor Darin Colarusso will be transferred to Wilmington. 

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” he said about his new assignment. “A new start is always good and I’m happy for new blessings. But it’s hard to leave people you have built a relationship with,” Colarusso said.

Most of all, Colarusso will leave Methuen with a grateful heart for the prayers, care, love and support from parishioners after he suffered cardiac arrest Oct. 6, 2023. His health scare was caused by weakening of the heart due to a virus, he said doctors told him. 

“When you are given a new lease on life, you see every day as a gift. My life is a bonus from God and I’m here to serve God,” Colarusso said. 

“I’m fortunate to be alive and what’s more amazing is that I had no after-effects,” he said, noting his organs are fine and he’s on medication and has a defibrillator as a preventative and precautionary measure. 

While in Methuen, he established Gethsemani Chapel at St. Monica and the Candle Chapel at St. Lucy where parishioners go for Eucharist adoration. The chapels gave parishioners an opportunity for personal prayers during the COVID-19 pandemic and the parish never shut down completely. 

“We offered Exposition to the Blessed Sacrament so people could come and adore,” he said. 

Also during the pandemic, Colarusso was activated by the National Guard and was the only Catholic priest chaplain in the state of Massachusetts to offer religious support for soldiers, airmen and civilians in hospitals and the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke. 

“We tried to serve as well as we could by telling them you are not alone, Jesus is with you,” he said. 

He also did renovations in the rectory: painting walls, ripping up old carpets and rearranging furniture in each of the rooms. 

His assignment is sort of a homecoming for Colarusso who grew up in Wilmington. He is a 1984 graduate of Wilmington High School and entered the Air Force Academy. He was a weapon officer in an F4-G two-seater plane serving in such places as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Korea.

His faith was always important as he attended Mass in the base chapel and was a lector. During a non-flying mission in Korea, he realized he needed to learn more about Catholicism to better explain the faith to his military friends from other religious background.

“I realized I couldn’t articulate about the faith as much to defend the faith,” he said. 

Colarusso started a self-study on Catholicism and coincidentally the first topic was devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He learned about the apparitions in Fatima and started praying the Rosary, asking for a wife. Instead, he heard a call to the priesthood. Colarusso entered St. John seminary at age 34 as a chaplain candidate.

Colarusso had to retire from the Air Force in order to join the priesthood. He was ordained in 2006. Subsequently, he joined the National Guard for which he is a volunteer chaplain.

In his years as a priest, he served four years in Braintree and eight years in Reading. He was also on the Presbyterial Council and the Pastoral Planning commission of the Archdiocese of Boston. 

You can wish him well at a May 25 cookout after St. Monica’s 4pm Mass or meet for refreshments May 26 after the 10:30 Mass at St. Lucy’s.

For the past six years, Pastor Darin Colarusso has led Methuen Catholic, the collaborative of St. Monica’s and St. Lucy’s parishes. ML photo by Yadira Betances Muldoon