Father John Delaney new pastor in Haverhill

Father John Delaney, who was appointed April 10 as pastor of Sacred Hearts Parish in Haverhill, always tries to make himself available to others.

"I try to live my priesthood always keeping in mind the philosophy, 'How can I help you to get closer to God?'" he said.

"My goal is to be a holy prayerful priest who is available to people to journey with them in life," he added.

He credits his philosophy to the many "wonderful examples" of priests he has encountered in his life.

A child of St. Patrick's Parish in Lawrence, Father Delaney was involved in his parish throughout his life. He attended St. Patrick Elementary school, Central Catholic High School and Holy Cross College in Worcester.

After graduation, he went on to the University of New Hampshire and Tufts University, where he received two master's degrees -- one in chemistry, the other in environmental engineering. He spent several years working as a chemist for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection before he answered the call to the priesthood.

"Two great priests, Father Gene Curtin and Msgr. George Carlson, nudged me over to explore the priesthood," he said, adding that both men were "great examples of what a priest is meant to be."

He attended St. John's Seminary in Brighton and was ordained by Cardinal Bernard Law in 1995 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

His first assignment was at St. Joseph Parish in Needham, where he spent five years. He was then transferred to St. Michael Parish in North Andover, where he spent the next 12 years.

An only child, whose parents are both deceased, Father Delaney is very happy to be living close to many of his childhood friends.

"It's nice to be close to people who have always been close to me," he said.