Obituary: Father Aidan J. Walsh, former Veterans affairs chaplain, Milton pastor
Father Aidan J. Walsh, a priest of the archdiocese since his incardination on May 15, 1998, died in Boston on March 4, 2023. He was born in the Hub's Jamaica Plain section on Jan. 21, 1940. He was the last surviving of the eight children of the late John and Elizabeth (Gill) Walsh; among his deceased siblings was a sister, Sister Mary (Donatus) Walsh, CSJ.
He attended Our Lady of Lourdes Parish school. During his elementary school years, he went to Ireland and lived with his grandparents and attended Kenmare School in County Kerry. When he returned to Boston, he enrolled at and graduated from Mission High in Roxbury.
Following a year of Latin preparation, he entered the archdiocesan seminaries, first at Cardinal O'Connell in Jamaica Plain. Illness forced him to leave the seminary and he finished college at Boston College and then taught school before returning to the seminary, now as a candidate for the Diocese of Worcester and as a student at St. Mary Seminary, Baltimore, Md.
Worcester's Bishop Bernard Flanagan ordained him to the priesthood at St. Paul Cathedral on May 16, 1970. Following ordination, he returned to Baltimore and received a master's degree in Educational Administration at Loyola College; and, in 1975, he was graduated from the Catholic University of America with a licentiate in canon law. Back in Worcester, he was appointed to the staff of the diocesan tribunal.
In 1977, he entered the Naval Reserve as a member of the chaplain corps, and in 1980, he transferred his chaplain duties to the Veterans Administration Hospital Chaplain Corps. For the next 20 years, he would serve as chaplain in various Veterans' Hospitals, including a stint in Boston area VA hospitals at Bedford, Brockton, and West Roxbury. In addition to chaplain duties, he was also the president of the National Conference of Veterans Administration Chaplains; served on the staff of the tribunal of the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS); and was a member of the presbyteral council of the AMS.
During his later years at AMS, he had a homecoming when he was incardinated into the Archdiocese of Boston on May 15, 1998. Completing his military service in 2000, he was named to the staff of the Metropolitan Tribunal of the archdiocese, and in October 2001, was appointed parochial vicar at Holy Family Parish, Duxbury. In 2003, he was appointed pastor of nearby St. Peter Parish, Plymouth; in 2005, he was recalled from the parish to the tribunal.
Cardinal O'Malley named him pastor of St. Elizabeth Parish, Milton, in 2009, and he also heard the familiar call back to the tribunal, this time serving as both pastor in Milton and on the tribunal staff.
At Milton, he undertook the renovation of the interior of the church, having ensured the exterior updates. Bringing the splendid stained-glass windows from the now-shuttered St. Augustine Church, South Boston, he brought together "the old and the new" and received high praise for an outstanding accomplishment.
Just a few weeks following his 75th birthday, he was granted senior priest retirement status on Feb. 16, 2015. He initially retired to his own residence and then entered Regina Cleri in Boston's West End.
Father Walsh was noted for his booming laughter. Friends and parishioners said you could always find him in the crowd if you listened for the laugh. Holy Cross Cathedral Rector Msgr. Kevin J. O'Leary knew not only Father Walsh but many of his family members. "They were great people. The neighbors in Jamaica Plain, many who moved away, spoke of how much they loved the large Walsh clan."
Father Walsh's funeral Mass was celebrated March 14, 2023, at St. Elizabeth Church in Milton. Auxiliary Bishop Mark O'Connell was the principal celebrant joined by Senior Auxiliary Bishop Arthur L. Kennedy, and Wellesley pastor of both St. John the Evangelist and St. Paul parishes, Father James Laughlin, was the homilist. Both had also served on the staff of the Metropolitan Tribunal.
In addition to Msgr. O'Leary, other concelebrants included Father Michael Doyle, St. Mary of the Annunciation, Danvers; Father Mark Mahoney, St. Julia, Weston; and Msgr. William Cuddy, senior priest and former Navy chaplain.
Following the funeral Mass, Father Walsh was buried in the Walsh Family lot at Mount Benedict Cemetery, West Roxbury.