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Boston priest named Coast Guard’s chaplain


Father William Cuddy Pilot file photo

BRIGHTON --A Boston native and longtime Navy chaplain, Father William Cuddy was named as Chaplain of the Coast Guard. In his new position Father Cuddy will oversee the service of 38 active duty Navy chaplains who are assigned to the Coast Guard.

Father Cuddy, who hails from Roslindale, is a son of the now closed St. Joseph Parish, Hyde Park. He is the oldest of eight: six brothers and a sister. He attended local public grammar school and was graduated from Cathedral High School. Following high school Father Cuddy worked, attended night school at Northeastern University and entered the Navy.

When his tour of duty as an enlisted man was over he returned home and was eventually graduated from Fitchburg State College with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Arts. He then entered St. John’s Seminary, and on completion of his seminary studies Cardinal Medeiros ordained him to the priesthood on Sept. 15, 1979.

Before entering the Navy chaplain corps and following his ordination Father Cuddy served as associate at Holy Family Parish in Rockland. He recalled that he lived in a “good house with great priests; Fathers Bill Flynn, Patrick “Packy” Dolan, Everett Vierra and Dick Butler.”

He returned to familiar territory when he was named chaplain at his alma mater, Cathedral High School. Again he noted that he lived with a house full of priests including Msgr. Bill Roche, Frank Lally and Peter Conley, the latter two former editors of The Pilot.

During his Navy chaplain’s career Father Cuddy has been around the globe. He served in Coast Guard assignments in Connecticut: The Coast Guard Academy, New London; and in New Jersey at the Cape May Recruit Center. Navy chaplains are also chaplain of the Marines and Father Cuddy had a number of postings with the Marine Corps: a couple of tours at Marine Air Corps Station, Cherry Point, N.C.; and at Okinawa. His navy assignment included a tour on the USS Puget Sound and as Fleet Chaplain for the Commander, the Second Fleet.

Father Cuddy, who is a Navy captain, was promoted to his new position in a ceremony at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., home of the U.S Army’s famous “Old Guard.”

The Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Thad Allen, conducted the ceremony and praised the service of the chaplains in the Coast Guard for their ready availability to Coast Guard personnel who are often called to scenes of man-made and natural disasters. The stress and strain of first responders is often eased by the ministry of the chaplain.

Father Cuddy was joined at the induction ceremony by other Coast Guard chaplains, Bishop Richard Higgins, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, Msgr. Tim Moran, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Medway a longtime friend of Father Cuddy, and a large representation of the Cuddy clan from the Boston area.