Regional episcopal vicars announced

Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley has announced the appointment of two regional episcopal vicars for the archdiocese effective Feb. 1.

Regional vicars assist Cardinal O'Malley in the governance and oversight of the clergy, parishes, schools, and apostolates within their region and also celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation. Regional episcopal vicars are also members of the cardinal's cabinet, the Presbyteral Council, and the Board of Consultors.

Father Brian J. McHugh, who has been serving as regional episcopal vicar in the Central Region, will become regional episcopal vicar in the North Region on Feb. 1, 2023.

Father Jonathan M. Gaspar will replace Father McHugh in the Central Region as interim regional episcopal vicar on the same date.

Father McHugh has served in archdiocesan parishes since his ordination in 1988. He was parochial vicar at St. Francis Xavier, Weymouth (1988-1993) and then at Sacred Heart, Weymouth (1993-1999), and then at St. Bridget, Abington (1999-2000). Cardinal Bernard Law named him pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in East Boston (2000-2003). In 2003, he was named pastor at St. Catherine of Genoa, Somerville; in 2007, named pastor of St. Ann, Somerville; and in 2012, pastor of St. Joseph, Somerville. In addition to being pastor of three Somerville parishes, he also served as administrator of two other Somerville parishes: St. Benedict (2012) and St. Clement (2013).

He guided his three parishes toward a merger in 2019, when St. Ann, St. Joseph, and St. Catherine of Genoa were merged into a single new parish: Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin Parish. The parish maintains three worship sites at the churches of the previous parishes. In 2019, he was also named Regional Episcopal Vicar of the Central Region.

In addition to his new region, Father McHugh will become the pastor of St. Theresa of Lisieux Parish, North reading. In both positions, he succeeds Bishop Mark O'Connell who has been named Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia of the archdiocese.

Replacing Father McHugh in the Central Region as interim regional episcopal vicar will be Father Johnathan M. Gaspar, the pastor of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish, Brookline. He will remain as pastor in Brookline in addition to his new assignment effective Feb. 1.

Following his ordination in 2004, Father Gaspar served as parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception, Marlborough. Then, in 2008, he was named secretary and master of ceremonies to the archbishop. For the next decade, he was a familiar face and gracious guide as he accompanied Cardinal O'Malley around the archdiocese and beyond. For nine of those 10 years, he also served as director of the Office of Divine Worship.

In June 2018, Father Gaspar was named pastor of the Brookline parish. He also has additional responsibilities as a member of the Presbyteral Council, a consultant for the Office of Divine Worship, and a member of the Clergy Personnel Board.

It is interesting to note that Father Gaspar's appointment to the Central Region means that Father McHugh will be the pastor of Father Gaspar's home parish in North Reading.