Senior priest, team ministry, new pastor announced

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap. has announced the retirement of one archdiocesan pastor, the designation of a team ministry and the appointment of a new pastor.

Father Robert Butler

A Boston native who grew up in St. Theresa of Avila Parish, West Roxbury, attended local public schools, and is an alumnus of the Boston Latin School, Father Robert J. Butler was ordained at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Feb. 2, 1962 by Cardinal Cushing. In the same ceremony his twin brother, Father Richard Butler was also ordained. Father Richard Butler is presently pastor of St. Isidore Parish in Stow and, as previously announced, he will become a senior priest on June 30, 2006.

Father Butler completed his seminary formation at St. John’s, Brighton and was assigned to St. Mary of the Nativity Parish in Scituate immediately following ordination. In 1964 he was assigned as an assistant at St. Philip Parish in Boston’s Roxbury section, he had beforehand been for a few months chaplain at Trinity Academy in Watertown.

After two years in the Roxbury parish he was named an assistant at St. Patrick, Stoneham, then and now a large and busy suburban parish. In 1969 he was assigned to graduate studies at Boston College’s School of Social work while living is residence at Sacred Heart Parish, Newton.

On completion of his graduate degree, for the next 15 years he was assigned at Family Counseling Services in its north shore office. During this extensive and challenging assignment he resided in two parishes: St. Athanasius, Reading (1971-1985) and then for a short time at Immaculate Conception, Salem (1985-1986). As a priest is residence he would assist at the parish, especially in sacramental ministry, as his schedule permitted.

In 1986 he was named the pastor of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Hull where he served until 1993. In January 1993 he was named pastor of a parish on the almost opposite side of the archdiocese in its far northwest corner, St. Joseph, Pepperell.

Cardinal O’Malley has accepted Father Butler’s request to retire and has granted him senior priest status effective June 1, 2006.

Team Ministry in Newton

Cardinal O’Malley has announced the creation of a team ministry, to date the fifth such form of parish leadership in the archdiocese. The new team will serve at Our Lady Help of Christian Parish in Newton and Father John Sassani will serve as moderator of the team and Father Joseph Keil as team member. The effective date of the appointment is April 18.

Father Sassani is a native of Lynn and a son of St. John the Evangelist Parish in neighboring Swampscott. He is a graduate of St. John’s Prep in Danvers and completed his seminary formation at both the college and theology seminaries of the archdiocese. Cardinal Medeiros ordained him to the priesthood on June 14, 1980 at Holy Cross Cathedral. His first assignment was as an associate pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Boston’s Roslindale section.

In June 1983 he was assigned to graduate studies in liturgy but then he returned to parish ministry as parochial vicar at St. John the Evangelist in Winthrop serving there from October 1984 to October 1991. He was named archdiocesan director of the Office for Spiritual Development and lived in residence at St. John the Evangelist, Newton until 1997. He remained at the helm of the spiritual development office when he was named administrator of St. Theresa of Lisieux Parish in Sherborn, Sept. 1, 2003.

During his decade-and-a-half of leadership of the Spiritual Development Office Father Sassani has expanded the programs of the office, involved many more priests, permanent deacons, women and men religious and lay women and men in the various programs. The parish retreats of the office have become part of the fabric of the archdiocese over the years. And Father Sassani’s own enthusiasm and his willingness to collaborate and involve women and men from around the archdiocese have contributed not only to sustaining the office but expanding its reach and services. His own personal involvement has been a source of encouragement for his collaborators in the office as well as for the various retreat teams.

Father Joseph Keil who will be the other member of the team ministry in Newton is a native of Albany, N.Y. He attended local public schools and was graduated from Guilderland High School, there. Before entering the seminary Father Keil was granted a BS in both criminal justice and political science from SUNY at Albany. He worked for General Electric following graduation. His family’s faith has always been strong and he was influenced by his family members who are priests and religious.

After attending St. John’s Seminary he was ordained by Cardinal Law on May 26, 2001 at the cathedral and celebrated his first Mass of Thanksgiving at Holy Name Church in Boston’s West Roxbury section.

His first and only assignment until his appointment to the new team ministry has been as parochial vicar at St. Agatha Parish, Milton. In addition to his busy parish life, Father Keil has been a member of the archdiocesan presbyteral council offering his insights and observations to Cardinal O'Malley in one of the more significant consultative bodies in the archdiocesan structure.

He begins his new assignment with Father Sassani right after Easter on April 18 in Newton.

Father Brian Mahoney

Father Brian Mahoney was born in Brighton and is a son of St. Michael Parish in Hudson. He attended archdiocesan seminaries and Cardinal Law ordained him to the priesthood at Holy Cross Cathedral on May 20, 1995.

His initial assignment following ordination was as parochial vicar at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Wellesley. In June 2000, he was appointed to the same position this time at St. Joseph Parish in Medway. After only a year in the west region parish he was asked to pursue graduate studies at The Catholic University of America in the nation’s capital, obtaining a licentiate in sacred theology (S.T.L.) speckling in sacramental theology.

On his return to the archdiocese, Bishop Richard Lennon, then the apostolic administrator of the archdiocese, appointed him as director of the archdiocesan Office of Worship on July 1, 2003.

In that office Father Mahoney has revived a number of programs and workshops especially for priests as related to the implementation of the new General Instruction on the Roman Missal (the book of directions for Mass); formation sessions for parish readers and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion; as well as offering assistance and guidance to other parish liturgical ministers.

Father Mahoney has been appointed as pastor of St. Theresa of Lisieux Parish in Sherborn effective April 18. He succeeds Father Sassani in the leadership of the small but active parish in the west region of the archdiocese.

Father Mahoney’s considerable personal skill and talents will be stretched wide as he will remain in his present position and so will have to “juggle” two important responsibilities — pastor and director of the Office for Worship.


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