Obituary: Father Francis Goss, former West Bridgewater pastor at 91

A priest of the archdiocese of Boston for more than 63 years who served in various areas and ministries of the archdiocese, Father Francis G. Goss died in Foxborough on Nov. 4. He was 91 years old.

Born in Boston on July 10, 1919 he was the last surviving child of the dozen progeny of the late James and Ellen (Bagley); among the eleven other deceased siblings was religious Sister of Mercy Mary Helene. Raised in Jamaica Plain, he was an alumnus of Boston English High School ('38) and the archdiocesan seminaries completing his theological studies at St. John's in Brighton in 1947.

On May 3 of that year Archbishop Richard Cushing ordained him to the priesthood at Holy Cross Cathedral and assigned him as an assistant at St. Ann Parish, Marshfield. It was common practice at that time for the newly ordained to be assigned to "summer parishes" where priestly responsibility increased with vacationers. The assignments were usually brief and so was the case for Father Goss who four months later found himself named assistant at St. John the Evangelist, Wellesley.

Between 1950 and 1968, when he was named chaplain at Medfield State Hospital, he was named assistant at four archdiocesan parishes: St. Vincent de Paul, South Boston (1950-1951); Sacred Heart, Cambridge (1951-1952); Immaculate Conception, Weymouth (1952-1960); and St. Edward, Brockton (1960-1968).

In 1968 Cardinal Cushing named him as chaplain at Medfield State Hospital and during his four year tenure as chaplain he lived in residence first at St. Mary Rectory Holliston (1968-1971) and at St. Susanna, Dedham (1971-1972). State hospital chaplaincies were almost a regular assignment for archdiocesan priests in these years. The challenges of those assignments were that some actually spent decades as chaplains, sometimes moving from one to another hospital.

Just shortly after his 25th anniversary of ordination, in October 1972, he was named pastor of St. Ann Parish in West Bridgewater. Archbishop Humberto Medeiros made this first appointment of Father Goss as pastor. Some seven years later, Cardinal Medeiros named him pastor at St. Linus Parish in Natick and in 1981 named him an associate pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Brockton.

In 1983 he returned to full time ministry as chaplain, this time to both Faulkner and Huntington Hospitals. During this assignment he lived in two other archdiocesan rectories St. John Chrysostom, West Roxbury and later at Infant Jesus, Brookline. The "return" to chaplaincy was to another kind of hospital with the Faulkner being a more "general" hospital with emergency room, maternity until, and internal medicine. This assignment then was notably different from the one at Medfield. And the almost decade long service Father Goss rendered seems to indicate that he "found a niche."

Just prior to his 73rd birthday, Cardinal Law granted him senior priest retirement status and he lived for almost the remainder of his life at Our Lady of Lourdes Rectory in Brockton. He moved to a private residence when he needed more care and died in that Foxborough residence.

One priest noted that Father Goss liked being solitary, but also enjoyed dropping into rectories and chatting with the assigned priests. He could always weave a tale and get a laugh and equally listen to your tales and laugh with you.

South Region Bishop John Dooher was the principal celebrant of Father Goss's Funeral Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Nov. 8; concelebrating with Bishop Dooher were with Father Joseph Scrozello, of the faculty of St. John's Seminary, the homilist at the Mass; his classmate, Msgr. William Glynn, senior priest; Father John Nichols, senior priest living in Rhode Island; Father Charles Higgins, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Kingston; Father James McCune, senior priest in residence at Regina Cleri.

Following the funeral Mass Father Goss was buried in Pine Hill Cemetery, West Bridgewater.