Father Coyle and Father O’Connell named to new posts

In two separate actions Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap. has given new assignments to two well-known and highly respected archdiocesan priests.

Father Arthur Coyle

A native son of Weymouth’s Sacred Heart Parish, Father Arthur Coyle has been tapped to be the first head of a newly created cabinet office — Pastoral and Ministerial Services. Until now Father Coyle has been serving as Interim vicar general and moderator of the curia of the archdiocese, filling the gap created by the installation of Bishop Richard Lennon in Cleveland on May 15 and the subsequent arrival in mid-June of Father Richard Erikson as the new vicar general and moderator of the curia.

An alumnus of archdiocesan seminaries, Father Coyle was ordained at Holy Cross Cathedral on May 21, 1977 by Humberto Cardinal Medeiros. His first assignment was as an associate at St. Patrick Parish in Brockton.

In 1982 he was named an associate at St. Bridget Parish in Framingham where he was also responsible for the pastoral care of the students, faculty and staff of neighboring Framingham State College. The assignment at Framingham saw Father Coyle, a man of native musical talent, reunited with his former teacher and likewise musically adept, Msgr. Francis V. Strahan.

In 1985 he was named parochial vicar at St. Michael Parish in Avon, serving there very briefly until he returned to Brockton and was named Chaplain at Cardinal Spellman High School where he served students, faculty and staff for the next seven years. He remained in residence at St. Michael Rectory during most of his tenure at Spellman.

He returned to parish ministry in June 1989 when he was named administrator of St. Peter Parish in Norwood. Three years later he was named parochial vicar at St. Mary of the Nativity Parish in Scituate and after just a bit more than a year in that assignment he was named pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Lowell. Never one to flee a challenge, Father Coyle faced a very different parish and assignment from any that he had had to date. With customary zeal and self-deprecating humor he served a culturally diverse and changing parish with great effectiveness.

From 1998 to 2001 he served as director of the Pastoral Institute, located at St. William’s Hall on the grounds of St. John’s Seminary, the institute which served for many years as the site for the ongoing programs of priestly formation, especially study weeks and priests’ retreats.

In February 2001 Father Coyle was named to the archbishop’s cabinet as secretary for pastoral services overseeing and coordinating the activities and responsibilities of more than two dozen archdiocesan offices.

In his new position Father Coyle will bring together in one secretariat the offices and personnel of two previous secretariats, all part of the consolidation of agencies in the central administration of the archdiocese.

Just a glance at Father Coyle’s extensive and varied priestly ministry points to him as the man for another important and challenging task.

Father Daniel O’Connell

A Somerville native, Father Daniel O’Connell is an alumnus of archdiocesan seminaries. Cardinal Humberto Medeiros ordained him to the priesthood on June 11, 1983 at Holy Cross Cathedral. Father O’Connell was among the last priests of the archdiocese ordained by Cardinal Medeiros.

His first assignment was as an associate at St. Patrick Parish in Lowell where he served with Father Richard “Doc” Conway. The two became not only great collaborators in ministry but personal friends and were well known for their more than occasional appearances as duets in planned and unplanned “productions” — a notable one was their rendition of Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s on first?”

Turning south Father O’Connell’s next assignment was as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Parish in Quincy serving there from 1988 to 1993.

In 1993 he was named a parochial vicar at St. Bernard Parish in Newton on a part-time basis as well as part time at the Office for Youth Ministry and part time at the Office for Spiritual Development.

Father O’Connell is widely known around the archdiocese because of his many parish visitations as part of the Spiritual Development Office’s retreat teams and through the connection of the Youth Ministry Office for talks and presentations to teens and their parents.

In 2000 he was named full time to the staff of the Spiritual Development Office crisscrossing the archdiocese from Ashby to Rochester and from Salisbury to Bellingham.

He is also widely recognized by many of the parishioners of the “Parish of the Airwaves” on Boston Catholic Television for his many appearances and programs there.

The gregarious and peripatetic priest is always a draw for a parish retreat or day of recollection. A man of great enthusiasm for the Gospel and for life; possessed of an energy that belies his date of birth, one cannot help but being affected by just being in his presence.

His first appointment as pastor is to the venerable St. Joseph in Boston’s West End. The parish sits hidden in the redeveloped spaces behind Massachusetts General Hospital, near the Shriners’ Burn Institute and right next to Regina Cleri Residence.

Even as Father O’Connell takes over at St. Joseph’s and expends his considerable talents primarily in the parish, he still hopes to be a familiar face in programs of the Office of Spiritual Development and BCTV.