EDS Mourns the Death of Former Bishop of Massachusetts and Episcopal Divinity School Trustee The Rt. Rev. Thomas Shaw

Retired Bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts The Rt. Rev. Thomas Shaw died on Friday, October 17, 2014, after a long illness. Bishop Shaw was a longtime friend and trustee of Episcopal Divinity School, joining the school's board in 2008. He served as bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts from 1994 until September 13, 2014, when The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates '87 was consecrated.

“The entire EDS community mourns the death of Bishop Shaw,” said EDS President and Dean The Very Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale. “His support of our school, our students, and our alumni/ae—both as Bishop of Massachusetts, as a trustee, and as a trusted colleague and friend—was steadfast. His love for the people of this school, and of his diocese, was deeply felt and was readily evident day in and day out.”

Bishop Shaw was instrumental in launching the Mission Institute, a joint project of the Diocese of Massachusetts, Episcopal Divinity School, and Episcopal City Mission. The institute provides individuals, congregations and communities with innovative learning opportunities that nurture leaders, advance spiritual growth, and support the flourishing of just, healthy societies.

Visitation hours will be held on Friday, October 31, 4-9 pm, including the Office of the Dead at 6 pm, and Compline at 8:30 pm, at the Monastery Chapel of the Society of St. John the Evangelist (980 Memorial Drive) in Cambridge.

A Celebration of the Life of the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, with Holy Eucharist, will be held on Saturday, November 1 at 2 pm at Trinity Church, Copley Square, Boston, with reception to follow.  Bishops, priests, and deacons will not vest or process, and are invited to sit in the congregation. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be directed to the Society of St. John the Evangelist, 980 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02138 (www.ssje.org/donate) or the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, 138 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02111 (www.diomass.org/campaign-and-giving).

Bishop Shaw was a graduate of Alma College and earned a Master of Divinity degree from General Theological Seminary in New York and a Master of Arts degree in theology from the Catholic University of America. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1971 and served as curate in England and assistant rector in Milwaukee from 1970 to 1974. In 1975, he entered the Society of St. John the Evangelist, life professed in the society in 1981, and served a term as its superior beginning in 1983, during which he established the retreat center at Emery House in West Newbury, MA. Bishop Shaw was a founder of Cowley Publications, and he developed a Boston-area program for inner-city boys and their families. He was consecrated bishop and elected coadjutor of the Diocese of Massachusetts in 1994, to become the 15th bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts. Read the Diocese of Massachusetts' announcement of Bishop Shaw's death.