Obituary: Father Lawrence Pratt, former pastor, team ministry member, and regional vicar

A Boston priest who spent his entire active priestly ministry and the greater part of his senior priestly life serving in parishes, died at Cape Cod Hospital in the Hyannis section of Barnstable on Oct. 7, 2021.

Father Lawrence E. Pratt was born in Lynn on Jan. 14, 1937, the only child of the late Everett and Agnes (Reilly) Pratt. His very early childhood years were spent in Swampscott before the family moved to Saugus, where he attended local schools. He commuted to his native and neighboring Lynn for high school at St. Mary Boys' High School there.

In the fall of 1954, he entered the archdiocesan seminaries, first at the then recently opened Cardinal O'Connell Seminary in Jamaica Plain. Two years later, he moved to the Brighton seminary campus for completion of philosophy studies and four years of theology at St. John Seminary.

Richard Cardinal Cushing ordained him at Holy Cross Cathedral on Feb. 2, 1962, and gave him his first priestly assignment as an assistant at St. Mary Parish, Ayer. His second assignment was a brief one, at Sacred Heart in East Boston, under the thumb of the legendary Msgr. Lawrence Basil Killian. The next assignment was as an assistant at St. John the Baptist Parish, Quincy. The parish was always a busy one and there were several priests assigned as well as hosting others living in residence. A highlight of Larry's assignment was when the beloved pastor of the parish, Msgr. Joseph F. Maguire, was named an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese in 1971.

In 1975, he spent two years as an associate at St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Parish, Watertown. By coincidence, this was the home parish of the priest who would be his "team" mate for the next two decades.

In 1977, he was named as a member of team ministry to St. Denis Parish, Westwood, where he served for 10 years. The other member of the team and its moderator was the late Father David F. Delaney. Ten years later, the team accepted the request of Bernard Cardinal Law to move to Sacred Heart Parish, Lexington, however the roles would be reversed, with Father Pratt as the moderator and Father Delaney as the member. That the team was accepting a challenge cannot be denied. There had been conflict, distress, and by some accounts rancor among some in the parish about changes in leadership of the parish. After two years in Lexington, the team moved to Incarnation of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Parish, Melrose.

Here they remained for almost two terms until, in 2000, Father Pratt was named the pastor of the parish and would remain so until 2002. In April of the year, Bernard Cardinal Law named Father Pratt the fifth pastor of Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Parish, Hingham.

During his tenure in Hingham, he also served for a short time, at the request of Archbishop Seán P. O'Malley, as regional vicar of the South Region of the archdiocese following the appointment of then Regional Bishop Richard J. Malone as the diocesan bishop of Portland.

In 2005, he was granted senior priest/retirement status and moved permanently to his own residence in the Cape Cod town of Dennis.

During 15 years of "retirement" there, he was a regular face at Masses and parish events at St. Pius Tenth Parish in Yarmouth.

Father Pratt was known for his easy going manner, his gentlemanly presence, and his priestly zeal. It was not unusual to hear from summer visitors to Yarmouth that "there was a very nice priest who was from Boston celebrating Mass this weekend." Inevitably, it was Father Pratt.

Fittingly, Father Pratt's funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Pius Tenth Parish, where he had spent the longest tenure of his priestly life -- some 16 years. The funeral was celebrated there on Oct. 13, 2021, and, following the Mass, Father Pratt was buried with his parents in Riverside Cemetery, Saugus.