Obituary: Msgr. Peter T. Martocchio, former pastor in Weymouth

Several of our priests texted me at the news of the death of Msgr. Peter Martocchio, their comments were roundly complimentary and best summed up as "he was a great guy." It would not be too much to add, and this would be from brother priests and parishioners, he was a fine priest.

Born in Watertown on Dec. 17, 1929, he was the last surviving child of the late John and Catherine (Feeney) Martocchio, both immigrants to the United States, John from Italy and Catherine from Ireland. He was also predeceased by his two sisters, Catherine Grimes and Mary Theresa Flanagan-O'Brien.

The family moved from Watertown, first to Quincy and then to Weymouth, and were parishioners there at Immaculate Conception Parish. Peter was graduated from Boston College High School and Boston College and then entered the archdiocese seminary at Brighton.

The late Auxiliary Bishop Jeremiah Minihan ordained him and 22 of his classmates to the priesthood on Feb. 2, 1957, at Holy Name Church, West Roxbury. The 32 other members of the class were ordained on that same date at Holy Cross Cathedral by Archbishop Richard J. Cushing.

During the next 44 years, he would serve in four archdiocesan parishes. He served as an assistant at St. John the Evangelist, Chelmsford (1957-1963); and St. Edward, Brockton (1963-1977); he was pastor at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Quincy's Merrymount section (1977-1984). He went home to Weymouth first as the administrator (1984) and then as pastor of the parish where he had celebrated his first Mass 27 years previously: Immaculate Conception. He remained as the pastor for the next 17 years, leaving when he was granted senior priest retirement status in June 2001.

One of the major changes at his home parish between his First Mass and his return as pastor was that there was a brand new church. In the late 60s, a much larger church of completely modern design was erected in no small part to accommodate the growth in Catholic population in Weymouth.

Following retirement, he remained in Weymouth but at St. Jerome Rectory, where he was virtually an additional assistant.

He was the Interim Regional Vicar of the South Region (1998-2000) following the transfer of Auxiliary Bishop John McCormack to the Diocese of Manchester in 1998 and kept the region in readiness for the arrival in March 2000 for Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Malone. He took more than a few comments from priests about the meaning of "interim" lasting over 18 months. He also served a four-year term on the Clergy Personnel Board of the archdiocese (1983-1987). Pope St. John Paul II named him a member of the papal household as a Prelate of Honor with the title of Reverend Monsignor on April 21, 1998.

His classmate and friend Auxiliary Bishop John M. D'Arcy, at the request of Humberto Cardinal Medeiros, had established the Office for Spiritual Development and created a team of bishops, priests, deacons, women and men religious, and laity to provide days of recollection and parish retreats. Then Father Martocchio was a member and widely appreciated for this homey style and affability.

Msgr. Martocchio's funeral Mass is scheduled for March 9 at his home parish in Weymouth. He is to be buried with his parents at St. Francis Xavier Cemetery, Weymouth.