Obituary: Msgr. Thomas J. Daly, 84, former seminary rector

Msgr. Thomas J. Daly Pilot file photo

A priest who spent 46 of his 84 years in the archdiocesan seminaries as a student, teacher, dean and finally rector, Msgr. Thomas J. Daly, died at Regina Cleri Residence on April 4.

A native of Dorchester who was raised in St. Peter Parish, he was the older of the two sons of the late Thomas and Agnes (Cusack) Daly. He was taught by the Sisters of Charity of Halifax at St. Peter Grammar School, and by the Jesuits at Boston College High School. As he once said "At B.C. High we received a strong classics based education; that's probably what made me pretty good at language and made me appreciate the classics."

Sensing a priestly vocation, influenced by his family and especially the priests at St. Peter Parish, after graduating from BC High in 1944 he entered St. John's Seminary. He told The Pilot that one of the parish's priests, Father, later Msgr., William Conley stood out as an exemplary priest. "He was kind. And he could not do enough for people."

Archbishop Richard Cushing ordained him to the priesthood of Jan. 10, 1952 at Holy Cross Cathedral and assigned to the only parochial assignment he would have in his more than 59 years of priestly service -- assistant at St. Mary of the Nativity in Scituate. The assignment lasted for all of 18 months. He returned to the seminary where he would serve for the next 38 years.

For 30 of those years he was assigned to various responsibilities at the seminary college of the archdiocese first teaching French (1953-1983), then serving as dean of students (1963-1983) and later both. His first years were at the minor seminary (first two years of college) at Cardinal O'Connell Seminary in Jamaica Plain, and then when the minor seminary was merged with the philosophy house, then housed at St. Clement Hall, Brighton he continued as both dean of men and professor. In June 1976 he became the dean of the college assuming overall responsibility for all aspects of the seminary college's formation program.

During these years he also completed graduate work in French Literature receiving a masters degree at Boston College and a Ph. D. at Tufts University.

In 1983 he was named vice rector of the seminary and on June 7, 1986 he was named the 15th rector of St. John's Seminary.

Former students, spanning more than 30 ordination classes recalled stories about "T" and how he handled situations and people. The consensus seems to be that he was an understanding man, who tried to maintain the required discipline in the house, at the same time not being overbearing. He seems to have understood the age of the seminarians and also the times in which they were in the seminary.

One of his many talents was his ability to deliver a good homily: related to the Mass of the day, usually appropriately illustrated with a story or two. He was clearly a man of letters who could draw on classics, French literature or contemporary society.

He also had a great sense of humor and could weave a tale; as someone said "He told great stories and even some of them were true."

Following completion of his term as rector in 1991, he was named as Director of the Implementation of the Archdiocesan Synod celebrated in 1988. With care and patience he helped bring the vision proposed for the archdiocese at the Synod to reality. He was also the administrative assistant to the Moderator of the Curia serving with both Bishops Alfred Hughes and William Murphy.

In his retirement which he began in 2000 he lived at Regina Cleri where he was a fixture and where the priests, many his own contemporaries and some his former students, echoed sentiments of esteem for him. His memory was encyclopedic and a great regret is that his historical knowledge was not recorded for future historians of both the seminary and the archdiocese.

He and the late Msgr. Richard Cunningham began great friends, while "T" was rector and Dick the professor of Canon Law. They were seen frequently together at local eateries favoring the Venetian in Watertown Square, where they were both well known and liked especially by the staff.

The two had been named Prelates of Honor by Pope John Paul II in April 1998.

Even as his physical health declined his keen mind remained alert and the memory seemingly intact. Up to a few day before his death he was aware and communicating with visitors at Regina Cleri.

Cardinal O'Malley was the principal celebrant of Msgr. Daly's funeral Mass at St. Agatha Church, Milton on April 8. Friends, classmates, contemporaries and former students joined as concelebrants there were six bishops: Boston auxiliary bishops Walter Edyvean, John Dooher, Robert Hennessey, Arthur Kennedy, former auxiliary bishop John Boles and Portland's Richard Malone. Bishops Kennedy, Malone, Dooher and Hennessey were all students of Msgr. Daly. Among the priests were Father James McCune, the homilist; among his classmates were Msgr. John McDonough; Father Arthur Driscoll with whom he had served on the seminary faculty for many years; and Father Edward McLaughlin, Braintree; former faculty members included Msgr. Frederick Murphy, Father Gerard Dorgan, and Father Mark Noonan; former students included Fathers James Lyons, John Hannon and the pastor of St. Agatha Parish, Father Peter Casey. There were some 50 priests concelebrating.

Following the funeral Mass Msgr. Daly was buried in St. Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury. His only sibling, his younger brother Robert, is Msgr. Daly's sole immediate survivor.

Nation
Today is 'hour of the laity,' Archbishop Gomez tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Hispanic Catholic leaders are living an important moment in the history of the Catholic church in the U.S. and are called to ...

World
Stay close to the suffering, forgive one another, pope tells Latvians

AGLONA, Latvia (CNS) -- What would Mary do? was the question Pope Francis, in effect, asked Latvian Catholics gathered at their nation's popular Marian ...

Nation
Joy, hope contagious for Encuentro participants as they discern priorities

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Joy, hope, energy and a spirit of continued collaboration are contagious among the participants of the Fifth National Encuentro, ...

World
Update: Pope in Lithuania: Don't let anti-Semitism, hatred resurge

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Outside the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius, Pope Francis ended a day of paying homage to victims of totalitarianism and ...

World
God is patient, even with failures, pope tells young Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Meeting young Lithuanians in Vilnius, Pope Francis said he wanted a relaxed conversation, like they were sitting in a pub ...

World
Update: Vatican signs provisional agreement with China on naming bishops

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- For the first time in decades, all of the Catholic bishops in China are in full communion with the pope, the Vatican announced. Pope ...

World
Find strength in tolerance, solidarity, pope tells Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- In Lithuania, a nation that experienced invasions, atrocities and persecution, Pope Francis began his visit with a plea to ...

Nation
Ospino: Encuentro reflects 'energy, maturity' of a church 'here to stay'

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- The thousands of Hispanic Catholic ministry leaders gathered in Texas for the Fifth National Encuentro shared views on the maturity ...

Nation
N.J. cardinal won't attend synod, asks to remain home at 'time of crisis'

NEWARK, N.J. (CNS) -- Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark told the people of his archdiocese Sept. 21 that Pope Francis has granted his request that he ...

Nation
Detroit Archdiocese welcomes investigation into Michigan dioceses

DETROIT (CNS) -- Michigan's attorney general has opened an investigation into the handling of sexual abuse by clergy in all of Michigan's seven Catholic ...

Nation
Catholics believe in God but 'don't believe in us,' Miami archbishop says

MIAMI (CNS) -- The crisis the Catholic Church is facing is not "a crisis of faith" or "mainly about a crisis of sexual abuse by clergy," but is "a crisis ...

Nation
Update: Disney animator says grounding in Catholic schools led to success

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (CNS) -- Ron Clements is a renowned animator, screenwriter and producer-director of award-winning Disney films, including the blockbuster ...

Nation
#WhyImCatholic movement aims to share hope at difficult time for church

CHICAGO (CNS) -- Catholic Extension has launched a new social media campaign called #WhyImCatholic to offer "hope and unity" for Catholics by inviting ...

Nation
Continue to be an evangelizing church, nuncio tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Quoting from Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel," Archbishop Christophe Pierre encouraged Hispanic Catholic ...

Nation
Encuentro opens with procession, papal message, prayers for abuse victims

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- A video message from Pope Francis and a procession of Encuentro crosses representing all of the participating episcopal regions ...

Nation
Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Nation
Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

World
Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Local
Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Local
Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Local
Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Local
Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Local
Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

Local
From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

Nation
N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

Nation
U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Nation
Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

World
Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

World
Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

World
In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Nation
Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Nation
Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

World
Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

World
Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

World
Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

World
Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

World
Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...