Obituary: Father Patrick J. McLaughlin, three-and-a-half decades at St. Joseph, Medford
A priest of the archdiocese since his ordination on Feb. 2, 1961, who spent two-thirds of his active priestly ministry at St. Joseph Parish, Medford, died in Weymouth on April 4, 2023. He had turned 87 on Feb. 8, 2023.
Father McLaughlin was born in Boston and he was from a large family. His brother, Deacon James McLaughlin, told The Pilot that the family was what today we call a "blended family."
Patrick and his sister, Marie (McLaughlin) O'Brien, Waltham, were the two children of Patrick Finnegan and Eileen McLaughlin. Patrick died leaving Eileen the widowed mother of two. Lawrence McLaughlin was married to Bridget Walsh and they were the parents of five Lawrence: Francis, Owen, Mary Johnston, and Eleanor Delaney (all now deceased). Bridget died leaving Patrick McLaughlin the widowed father of five. Lawrence McLaughlin then married Eileen (McLaughlin) Finnegan. Patrick McLaughlin adopted Patrick and Marie Finnegan and thus they joined the five McLaughlin's to make seven. Patrick McLaughlin and Eileen (McLaughlin, Finnegan) McLaughlin then were the parents of two: Deacon James, Abington; and Anne Shinney, Weymouth. "We never made any distinctions. We were all one family."
Father McLaughlin grew up in St. Mark Parish, Dorchester, attending the parish school and then high school at Christopher Columbus in Boston's North End. He entered the archdiocesan seminaries, and on Feb. 2, 1961, he was ordained at Holy Name Church, West Roxbury, by Auxiliary Bishop Jeremiah F. Minihan. He thus joined a long list of priestly vocations from the Dorchester parish who were dubbed the "Marksmen."
His first assignment following ordination was as an assistant at St. John the Baptist, Peabody, followed by a two-year service in the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle in Buena Vista, Bolivia. He returned to the archdiocese, and in 1968, was named associate at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Brockton. He was for two years the director of the Plymouth Catholic Family Life Apostolate (1974-1976).
In October of the nation's bicentennial year, he was appointed a member of the team ministry at St. Joseph, Medford (1976-1995). He remained for an additional 10 years (1995-2005) as the moderator of the Team Ministry there. The last seven years of his active priestly ministry saw him remaining as administrator of the Medford parish until his retirement in 2012.
During his years as a senior priest, he was in residence at St. Agatha, Milton, and was almost a parochial vicar. He celebrated Masses at the busy Milton parish, not only Sundays and weekdays, but also funerals and weddings.
Many folks, especially from Medford and Milton, commented about his ready availability and priestly care.
Father McLaughlin's funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Agatha Church, Milton, on April 13, 2023. Cardinal O'Malley was scheduled to be the principal celebrant. Father Francis Cloherty was the homilist. The two had agreed that whoever died first the other would be the homilist. Other concelebrants were classmates and friends of Father McLaughlin; priests from Regina Cleri, Boston, and from St. Agatha, Milton.
His immediate survivors are siblings Marie O'Brien, Waltham; Deacon James, Abington; and Anne Shinney, Weymouth.
Following the funeral Mass, Father McLaughlin was buried in St. Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury.