Obituary in the Eagle Tribune, Lawrence, MA
Tuesday January 9, 2007
Brother Vincent Dinnean, 91
—Brother Vincent Dinnean, FMS, a member of the Marist
Brothers, Province of the United States of America, and
formerly a member of the faculty at Central Catholic High
School, Lawrence, died on Wednesday, January 3, 2007 at the
Marist Brothers Retirement community in Miami. He
is survived by his sister, Ms. Edna Bray of Hamden, Conn.
Born in 1915,
in New Haven, CT, Brother Vincent entered the Marist Brothers
in 1938, professing his first vows in 1940. His ministry
as teacher, school administrator and community superior
included assignments in Georgia, New York and Connecticut. His
ministry brought him to Central Catholic in Lawrence in 1968,
where he served as teacher of religious education and science.
For many years he was the school's attendance director ad
helped out after school, organizing the maintenance of the
school's athletic equipment.
In his final
years at Central he was an assistant to the librarian.
Always a student himself, Brother Vincent pursued graduate
work in theology at Rivier College and Fordham University and
continued his study up until the time of his death.
Vincent Daniel Dinnean
was born June 21, 1915 in New Haven CT.
His parents were Daniel and Mary (Meehan) Dinnean.
His sister is Edna Bray.
BS in Education (major in
English) Fordham University, 1948
MS in Education (Major in psychology) Fordham University, 1955
Postgraduate work in Sacred Theology Rivier College and
Fordham University 1976-1977
Laundry, St. Ann's Hermitage, Poughkeepsie NY
1942-1944 Scholasticate (Marist Normal
Training School), Poughkeepsie NY
1944-1946 Boys Catholic HS,
1946-1953 St. Helena HS, Bronx NY
1953-1957 St Agnes HS,
1957-1962 Holy Trinity School,
1962-1968 St Joseph HS, Trumbull CT
1968-2002 Central Catholic HS,
2002-2007 Retirement Community, SW
136th St, Miami FL
Eagle-Tribune, Lawrence MA — Monday,
June 3, 1997
"If I'm already in heaven, you can forget me." —
Brother Conan Vincent Dinnean FMS
Brother Vinny has long been thought of as "Central Catholic's
treasure" — but he does not fear the day he finally leaves the
By Kathie Neff Ragsdale
Weekday mornings he prowls up and down the
cafeteria, wordlessly reading his psalms
and rarely glancing up at the early-arriving students he is
supposed to keep in line.
He doesn't have to.
Central Catholic High School's Brother Vincent
Dinnean —"Brother Vinny has power in his
presence, says Assistant Principal Jeanne Burns. He may be 81
years old and well past
his teaching days, but he's not a man students are apt to
In dealing with people, "When you're not that
smart, God gives you a certain instinct,"
explains Brother Vincent, in one of the self-deprecating
one-liners for which he is
But he is more than the school's early-morning
He is also the attendance-keeper, checking in at
nearly three dozen classrooms in two
buildings every hour.
He volunteers faithfully at the Mary Immaculate
nursing home, where some of the
residents are younger than he is. .
He walks for miles down Lawrence streets a warier
person might fear, to read and
watches televised religious programs regularly..
"You're getting so close, you might as well get
to know the other side," he says.
His references to death are frequent and light-hearted.
He hates riding in a car because of the hassle of
getting in and out. "I may not be a big
man, but I'm an awkward one," he says. .
He is a beloved fixture in the 61 year-old
Catholic school that only last year opened its
doors to girls, a move of which Brother Vincent approves.
"He's like a local treasure, a Central Catholic
treasure," says Dean of Students William
Cowie, a friend of almost 40 years.
Brother Vincent joined the Marist order 58 years
ago as a man in his 20's, old by
comparison with others. He has joked that his parents thought
he didn't have the
intelligence to get a degree and teach, like many men in the
order, but figured he might
be useful in the laundry. .
Instead, the Hartford, Conn., native did teach in
Manhattan, the Bronx, upstate New
York and Augusta, Ga., for the first 30 years of his religious
life, then at Central
Catholic, where he has been for 20. He taught earth science
and later religion before he
left classroom work five years ago.
These days, he's up at 5 a.m., then heads for
group prayer and his day at the school. At
7 a.m. he is in the cafeteria, where he is responsible for
collecting the excuse notes of
students who have been absent the day before-and where he has
a reputation for not
missing a trick. . .
"When the girls first came, they tried to charm
you, saying 'you don't want to put me in
detention, do you?'" he remembers. He would assure them that
he wasn't enjoying the
process...but that they would go to detention.
But don't let the facade fool you. The most
outlandish excuses, he confesses, provoke
inward chuckles , ... , "He has that kind of gruff
exterior," says Central Catholic
Principal Brother Rick Carey, "but he's very gentle and really
He attends noon Mass at St. Mary's returns to
school to do some filing, then heads to
the brothers' Sheridan Street home, where he often watches
religious shows and naps
On weekends and at odd times during the week he
goes to Mary
Immaculate nursing home, where he assists residents in
wheelchairs on their way to
lunch or Mass. He may spend two hours there on a Saturday and
four on a Sunday,
often distributing Communion as well.
He jokes to the staff that they should remember
his name for when he returns as
He has already outlived some "great men" and
fellow Brothers much younger than
himself, "but I figure God didn't want me yet," Brother
Vincent says. "He's giving me
time to get myself in order."
And though he is prepared for his own passing, he
can't resist joking about it.
"We get buried at night, so all the Brothers can come," he
says. "The kids don't have a
holiday, which delights me."
School secretary Mary Ann McDonough, who has
worked at Central Catholic for 21
years, says Brother Vincent is "just a joy, and he has so much
faith. It's almost like you
could say in your lifetime it was a pleasure knowing someone
As for Brother Vincent himself, "I don't want to be
remembered," he says.
"If I need the prayers, I'll want to be remembered constantly.
If I'm already in heaven,
you can forget me."
From the January
2007 Newsletter of the United States Province of the Marist
The death of Brother Conan Vincent
Dineen on January 3 brought to a close the life of one of our
Province “giants.” Loved by generations of students, faculty,
and Brothers, Vinny is especially remembered by novices in
Tyngsboro who had Vinny as their summer prefect and teacher.
The novice master had gone on a well earned vacation, and
Vinny came to Tyngsboro with this simple admonition to the
novices, “Don’t get sick. Don’t die. Don’t have a vocation
crisis – at least not until the master comes back.” Whether he
was Conan, Conan Vincent, or Vinny, he was a wonderful model
of what Marist brotherhood is all about.
Vinny was born to Daniel and Mary (Meehan) Dineen in New
Haven, Connecticut on July 21, 1915. He entered the novitiate
as a postulant in 1938 and received the habit in 1939. Vinny
made first vows in 1940, final vows in 1945, and stability in
After completing the scholasticate in 1994, Conan served at
Boys Catholic in Augusta, Georgia (1944-1946), St. Helena High
School in the Bronx, New York (1944-1946), St. Agnes Boy’s
High School in New York City (1953-1957), Holy Trinity School
in Poughkeepsie, New York (1957-1962), St. Joseph High School
in Trumbull, Connecticut (1962-1968), and Central Catholic
High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts (1968-2002). From 2002
until his death, Conan lived in our retirement community at
136th Street in Miami.
Because of his long tenure at Central Catholic, Vinny is
most often associated with that school. An article in the June
2, 1997 edition of the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune described Vinny
as “Central Catholic’s treasure.” At age 81 at the time, Vinny
talked about why he watched religious tv programs. “When
you’re getting so close, you might as well get to know the
other side,” he quipped.
In typical Conan humor, he described for the article’s author
that the Brothers often held funerals at night so that as many
Brothers as possible could attend. Then he added, “The kids
don’t have a holiday, which delights me.”
There is so much for which Conan Vincent will be remembered.
He had a wonderful sense of humor and could laugh at himself.
He had a remarkable faith which sustained him through
tremendous change in both the Church and religious life. He
had a remarkable ability to adapt to the changing youth to
whom he ministered for almost 60 years. Most importantly,
Conan loved his brothers, and they loved him.
Godspeed, Vinny. We miss you already.