Father Deehan is new director of clergy personnel

Father Robert J. Deehan, a priest of the archdiocese since his ordination by Cardinal Medeiros on June 11, 1983, was named the director of the Clergy Personnel Office of the Boston Archdiocese effective Jan. 7, 2006. At the end of 2005 Father Deehan was named associate director of the same office. He succeeds Father Richard W. Fitzgerald who has been wearing two hats, serving both as pastor of St. Paul, Wellesley and at the same time as clergy personnel director. Father Fitzgerald will remain as pastor of St. Paul Parish.

Father Deehan is a Quincy native and a son of St. John the Baptist Parish. He attended the parish school where he came to admire the Sisters of St. Joseph and was graduated from Boston College High School. He attended Northeastern University and obtained a masters degree in clinical psychology from the University of Hartford.

He entered St. John Seminary and completed his seminary formation there in 1983. Following his ordination he was named an associate pastor at St. Theresa of Avila Parish in Boston’s West Roxbury section, interestingly enough the home parish of Father Fitzgerald. In 1988 he was assigned as parochial vicar at St. Clement Parish in Somerville. He was a priest pursuing higher studies in 1991-1992 and returned to St. Clement as parochial vicar until 1995.

He went north to St. Pius Fifth Parish in Lynn where he was parochial vicar for two years between 1995 and 1997. That year he was named pastor of St. Bonaventure Parish in Plymouth’s Manomet section. His priestly assignments list four of the largest and busiest parishes of the archdiocese, each, save Plymouth, had a grammar school and St. Clement’s has its own high school. All the parishes had and still have large sacramental statistics indicating busy places and hinting at much activity beyond the sacramental life.

The Clergy Personnel Office serves as an important advisory body to Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley especially in his responsibility for making assignments of priests as pastors, parochial vicars or team ministry members. The director of the office receives advice and input about assignments for a group of priests — the Clergy Personnel Board.

The board, consisting of priests who serve ex-officio, and are designated by the archbishop, or selected from among names of priests recommended by brother priests, meets frequently. They make recommendations to the director for various assignments, especially pastors. After other consultations the director makes recommendations to the archbishop about suitable priests for particular assignments. The decision, of course, belongs to the archbishop, but the director plays a key role in advising him.

Among his other duties is working with the director of the Office of Permanent Deacons in recommending assignments for the permanent deacons, and with the secretary for ministerial personnel in the general coordination and direction of priestly assignments.

Father Deehan leaves his parish in Plymouth where he has been personally happy and pastorally effective, to take on this new full-time responsibility for his brother priests. He will not be far from the reality of busy parish life as he will be living in residence at St. Agatha Parish in Milton.