VERY REV W. T. CULLEN 1891-1948
Born: 13 January 1891 - Boston/Carbonear
Ordained: 1920 - Rome
Died: 27 October 1948, Age 57 – St. Clare’s Hospital, St. John's Father
William Thomas Cullen was actually born in Boston, Mass. on January 13, 1891 to Patrick Cullen and Bridget Hogan. But on the death of his mother, at 8 months old, be was brought to Newfoundland by his father and reared in Carbonear by his grandparents. For this reason he is always referred to as a Carbonear native son.
He received his early education at the R. C. Academy (1900-1913) in Carbonear and in 1914 he proceeded to the Propaganda College in Rome for 6 years to prepare himself for the priesthood. He was ordained at Rome in 1920 at age 29. His first assignment was as curate or assistant to Father Sheehan at Harbour Main and Assumption Parish, Avondale for one year. In 1921 he was assigned as Parish Priest at St. Alphonsus Parish, Whitbourne. Whitbourne was a mission of Gambo, so on October 6, 1921, Rev. W. J. Cullen moved the residence to Gambo. He looked after Whitbourne from Gambo from 1921 until 1945.
In 1924, he undertook the task of moving the parish church in Gambo approximately one mile. A pair of horses, blocks and tackles, and lots of manpower was used to move the church. By 1926 the church was on its new foundation and stands there today.
Father Cullen remained Parish Priest at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Gambo until 1948, when his ill health (heart trouble) forced him to seek hospitalization. He later retired from active duty in the Parish completely. He died in St. Clare's Mercy Hospital in St. John's on 28 October 1948 at age 57. He was priest for about 28 years.
Funeral services for Father Cullen took place at Carbonear on Saturday, October 30th. His Excellency, Bishop J. M. O’Neill of Harbour Grace, assisted by Reverend John Mackey and Rev. Walter P. Walsh, celebrated the Pontifical High Mass of Requiem. Reverend Edward. J. Shea was Master of Ceremonies. At the conclusion of the Mass, Reverend J. W. Peddle delivered a sermon on the mission of the priest and the life and labours of the deceased.
After the chanting of the Libera Me, the funeral procession moved to the cemetery where the remains of Father Cullen were laid to rest beside the grave of Rt. Reverend Monsignor McCarthy.