Obituary: Father John E. Gallagher, former pastor in Lowell and Lynn
Father John Gallagher, whose active priestly ministry spanned almost 40 years, died on Nov. 9 at Regina Cleri Residence Boston. He had actually entered Boston's home for senior priests on that same date in 2016.
He was born in Watertown on June 20, 1927, one of the five children of the late Herman and Winifred (Garvey) Gallagher. His early years were spent in Watertown but the family later moved to Concord. The family were parishioners at Our Lady Help of Christians Parish there.
He entered St. John Seminary as a member of the Class of 1959, and Richard Cardinal Cushing ordained him to the priesthood at Holy Cross Cathedral on Feb. 2, 1959. Archdiocesan history buffs would note that this was the first class from St. John Seminary, ordained by Boston's recently minted cardinal who had been named to the College of Cardinals the previous December by Pope St. John XXIII.
The cardinal also gave him his first assignment as an assistant at St. Cecilia Parish, Ashland. In 1966, he was named an assistant at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, Lynnfield. The parish had been seeing rapid growth with Catholic families moving from Lynn, Saugus, and East Boston.
In 1974, Humberto Cardinal Medeiros named him temporary hospital chaplain at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Medford; Malden Hospital, Malden; and Normandy House, Melrose.
Cardinal Medeiros named him to a three-man team ministry at St. Joseph Parish, Lynn, of which he was the moderator. For the next 18 years, he would serve the Lynn parish in several capacities, first as moderator of the team ministry, then as its administrator, and lastly as pastor (1986-1993).
His last parochial assignment made by Bernard Cardinal Law was to a team ministry at St. Louis de France (French) Parish in Lowell.
Cardinal Law granted him senior priest/retirement status in June 1998. He retired to his own home in Farmington, Maine, until his 2016 move to Regina Cleri.
During the past few months, Father Gallagher had experienced declining health and had made a few trips to nearby Massachusetts General Hospital from Regina Cleri.
Father Gallagher's Funeral Mass was to be celebrated at St. John Church in Boston's West End, the "parish church" of Regina Cleri. Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley was scheduled to be the celebrant of the Mass on Nov. 19. Father Gallagher's immediate survivor is his brother, Father David Gallagher, CSS, who lives at St. Patrick Manor, Framingham.
Following the Funeral Mass, Father Gallagher was buried in St. Patrick Cemetery, Watertown.