Father Leo Martel granted senior priest status

BRIGHTON -- Father Leo Martel, a Lynn native and an archdiocesan priest for more than 44 years, has been granted senior priest/retirement status by Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley. The effective date will be June 1, 2007.

After completing his elementary and high school education he entered archdiocesan seminaries and Cardinal Richard Cushing ordained him to the priesthood at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Feb. 2, 1963.

Following ordination he served as an assistant at St. Mary of the Nativity parish, Scituate. In 1966 he answered Cardinal Cushing’s call for archdiocesan priests to serve in South America with the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle. While in the Society he served at San Francisco de Asis in Chimbote, Peru.

He returned to the archdiocese in 1972 and was named as parochial vicar at St. Louis de France Parish, Lowell. The following year he was named to the Spanish Apostolate in the city of Lowell with his residence at St. Peter Parish, Lowell.

In 1979 he went to the opposite side of the archdiocese assigned as parochial vicar at SS. Martha and Mary Parish, Lakeville. Three years later he was back in serving the Spanish speaking population this time at Roxbury’s St. Patrick Parish where he was assigned to assist with the growing Hispanic population. Six years later in August 1988 Cardinal Bernard Law named him pastor of Assumption Parish in Bellingham.

Since 1997 he has been pastor at St. Mary Parish in Chelmsford. The parish has been experiencing tremendous growth over the past decade with people moving from the well-populated cities of the Merrimack Valley like Lowell to the town. Father Martel’s pastoral service and steady guiding hand play no small part in contributing to the parish’s well-deserved reputation for active parish life and programs of outreach.

Father Martel plans to spend his retirement in New Hampshire.