Roland Fregault, OFM
1916 – 2002
Fr. Roland Fregault, OFM, was born on April 22, 1916, in Willimantic, Conn., in what is now the Norwich Diocese, the oldest of four, and studied a year at Norwich Free Academy before enrolling in St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y.
In 1937, he was received into the Order and professed temporary vows a year later, both in St. Bonaventure Church, Paterson, N.J. He studied philosophy at St. Stephen’s Friary, Croghan, N.Y., and St. Anthony Friary, Butler, N.J., and theology at Holy Name College, Washington, D.C., where he also professed solemn vows in 1941. In 1943, Fr. Roland was ordained a priest in St. Michael’s Passionist Monastery, Union City, N.J.
All of his assignments were to parochial ministry: associate at St. Anne’s in Fair Lawn, N.J.; pastor at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Hewitt, N.J.; associate at St. Bonaventure in Paterson; pastor at St. Francis in Triangle, Va.; and senior associate friar in residence at St. Leo’s in Elmwood Park, N.J.
In the 1990’s, Fr. Roland slowed down progressively, so he was retired to the St. Anthony’s Friary in Butler in 1999, and ultimately transferred in July of 2000 to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J.
Fr. Roland earned a reputation as one who loved the priesthood and fulfilled all the norms of priestly service in the old-school tradition. Among his strong suits were devotion to the rosary and pastoral visits to hospitals and nursing homes. He also loved to sing and to lead parochial songfests.
The mere mention of his name would often get people talking sports because his sports reputation was rare for a priest. First for its variety, which included tennis, baseball, basketball, swimming and horseback riding. Add to the mix his determination to excel. He was a fierce competitor who wanted to win, whatever the sport.
Fr. Roland died August 12, 2002, at Holy Name Friary. He was 86 years old, a professed friar for 64 years and a priest for 59 years.