Topsfield pastor’s retirement announced

As announced a few weeks ago in the official column of this paper, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley OFM Cap. has granted the request of Father E. Paul Sullivan to retire as pastor of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Topsfield. Once a successor has been named Father Sullivan will become a senior priest with retirement status of the archdiocese.

Father Sullivan is a native of Watertown and after attending archdiocesan seminaries he was ordained to the priesthood on Feb. 2, 1963 at St. Agnes Church, Arlington by Boston’s late auxiliary Bishop Thomas Riley.

Father Sullivan’s whole priestly life has been in service to God’s people in parishes of the archdiocese. His first assignment following ordination was as an assistant at South Boston’s St. Augustine Parish. In 1968 he traveled west to a completely different parish and neighborhood at St. Cecilia in Ashland. He served there as an assistant for a few days short of 11 years when he was named an associate at St. Michael Parish, Lowell serving from 1979 to 1987.

In January 1987, Cardinal Law appointed him pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Winthrop. At Winthrop he saw changing demographics affect the parish and led the parish through a relatively calm and carefully thought-out plan. He was appointed to a second term at the Winthrop parish completing it in 1999.

Always trying to keep abreast of the changes and developments in Church life and ministry, Father Sullivan twice participated in the Priestly Renewal, or Sabbatical, program at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif. once in the fall of 1986 and again in the spring of 1999.

He served briefly on the archdiocesan Emergency Response Team and during that time was administrator to the venerable St. Joseph Parish in Boston’s West End.

On June 1, 1999 Cardinal Law appointed him as pastor of the rapidly growing St. Rose of Lima Parish in Topsfield. This parish was experiencing a change in demographics but one that demanded more services and attention especially to the increasing numbers of young families moving into the parish. Again Father Sullivan’s leadership proved significant.

During his tenure at Topsfield the parish has continued to grow and be shaped into a lively and participatory faith community.

As noted, once a successor is named Father Sullivan will become a senior priest of the archdiocese.