New pastor named in Townsend

BOSTON — Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap. has announced the appointment of Father Shawn W. Allen from administrator to pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Townsend. The appointment will be effective on June 1, 2006.

Father Allen was born in Methuen and is a proud son of St. Patrick Parish in Lawrence. The parish has been a source of vocations to the priesthood — diocesan and religious as well as for women religious over the years, a tradition Father Allen happily carries on.

He is the youngest of four siblings and was graduated from Merrimack College with concentrations in political science and religious studies. Before entering the seminary he worked for 12 years in banking, starting as a teller and advancing to vice president for operations. Along the way he obtained an MBA at Rivier College in New Hampshire.

He completed his theological formation in preparation for ordination at St. John’s Seminary and Cardinal Law ordained him to the priesthood at Holy Cross Cathedral on May 15, 1999.

His first and only assignment as parochial vicar was immediately following ordination and it was to St. Agnes Parish in Arlington. Long considered one of the great parishes of the archdiocese in which to “learn” how to be a priest, Father Allen served with Father Brian Flatley as pastor. The parish may rightly be said to be one of the “old giants” having not only a parish church and rectory, but a parish grammar school and high school — Arlington Catholic; as well a parish center and the longtime parish youth center — Fidelity House.

In April 2005 following the appointment of Father Clyde Chetwynde as pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Swampscott, Father Allen was named administrator of the growing parish in one of the archdiocese’s far northwestern suburbs.

The variety of pastoral experiences at St. Agnes Parish as well as from his deacon assignment at Immaculate Conception Parish in Newburyport and his own familiarity with the Merrimack Valley will certainly be invaluable as he takes leadership at St. John, Townsend.