Cardinal grants three senior priest status

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap. has announced that he has granted senior priest retirement status to three priests of the archdiocese: Father Bernard P. McLaughlin ordained in 1959 and two members of the class of 1960: Father Laurence Kelley and Father James Lyons.

Father Laurence Kelley

Born in Boston, Father Kelley studied at archdiocesan seminaries and was ordained on Feb. 2, 1960 at Holy Name Church, West Roxbury.

For most of his priestly ministry, Father Kelley has served in parishes but he has also spent a notable amount of time in the service of the United States Air Force as a chaplain either active or reserve.

Following ordination he was named an assistant at Hyde Park’s Most Precious Blood Parish; in January 1963 he went across town to what was likely Boston’s largest parish, St. Peter, Dorchester. He served there until 1971, During those years many changes in population were taking place across the city of Boston and especially in Boston’s old “Catholic” neighborhoods.

He was released for service as a chaplain for the U.S. Air Force and served until 1973 when he returned to the archdiocese to serve briefly as an assistant at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton. Later that year he was named an associate at St. Elizabeth Parish in Milton where he remained until February 1977 when he returned to Dorchester in a tram ministry at St. Matthew Parish.

He was briefly administrator of St. James the Greater Parish in Boston’s Chinatown in late 1980. Between 1981 and 1983 he was a parochial vicar at St. Thomas Parish in Millis and at St. Ann Parish in Boston’s Neponset section. He was briefly a chaplain at Faulkner Hospital in Jamaica Plain, living at St. John Chrysostom during that time.

He returned to full-time service of the U.S. Air Force in 1983 posted in various places nationally and internationally until he returned to the archdiocese in 1991 when he was named pastor at St. Ann Parish in West Newbury.

He was granted health leave status in 2000 after he had served briefly on the archdiocese’s Emergency Response Team and on July 1, 2006 he was granted senior priest/retirement status. Father Kelley will live in his own residence.

Father James Lyons

A member of the class of 1960, Father Lyons was ordained following seminary studies in Boston. He was named an assistant at St. Leo Parish, Dorchester following ordination. His second assignment, also as an assistant was to St. Bridget Parish in Abington. Here, as in subsequent assignments he received accolades from the people for his calm demeanor, gentlemanly manner and easy wit.

Following Abington he moved to Somerville where he was an associate there at St. Catherine of Genoa Parish.

He returned south, as it were, but this time to a term as a hospital chaplain. While living in residence at neighboring St. Francis Xavier Rectory, he was for six years (1979-1985) the Roman Catholic chaplain at South Shore Hospital, Weymouth.

Hospital chaplaincies of any kind are especially demanding ministry; the South Shore Hospital is legendary for its very busy emergency room. The hospital campus is only blocks from the merging of Routes 3, 128 and 93 — the Southeast Expressway. “Constant” is the word that any priest would use to describe the calls and demands placed on the chaplain.

Father Lyons seemed to have the right mix of personality and priestly zeal for this challenging ministry.

In 1985 he was named administrator of St. Michael Parish, Avon and in between 1986 and 1991 he was pastor of St. Mary of the Annunciation Parish in Danvers. In 1991 he went to Most Precious Blood Parish in Hyde Park and then in 2002 served as pastor of St. Mary Parish, Rowley. With the merger of St. Mary Parish in Georgetown and St. Mary, Rowley into a single parish, Father Lyons was granted senior priest status effective June 30, 2006.

Father Bernard McLaughlin

A Brighton native and an alumnus of The Boston Latin School and archdiocesan seminaries, Father Bernard McLaughlin was ordained on Feb. 2, 1959 at Holy Name Church.

He was named an assistant at St. John the Baptist Parish, Peabody following ordination. He was assigned to graduate studies in philosophy at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Mo. When he was home for the summers during those years he served at St. Brigid, South Boston and St. Isidore, Stow.

In 1963 he was named chaplain at Our Lady of Nazareth Academy in Wakefield with residence at St. Joseph Rectory. The following year he was named to the faculty of St. John’s Seminary, teaching philosophy for more than a decade.

In 1973 he was named to the position which seemed to be the best fit for his talents and for the people he served: chaplain at Our Lady of the Airways Chapel at Boston’s Logan International Airport.

Over the next 22 years this became his parish and the center of his ministry. He knew everybody. Whether it was a custodian at Delta or a pilot at AerLingus, a frequent flier or an occasional visitor, Father Mac seemed to know everyone…and he did.

For 10 of the years at East Boston he was also pastor of Most Holy Redeemer Parish. There he oversaw a dramatic shifting population — the once largely Irish and Italian parish literally swelled in size with the rapidly growing Spanish speaking, largely Catholic, immigrants.

He founded the Crossroads Shelter and used his multiple contacts in the wider community and among local community leaders to ensure not only its survival but also its expansion.

In 1995 he was named pastor of St. Gerard Majella Parish in Canton. There is probably not a more different place from East Boston than the Canton parish. But Father McLaughlin jumped right in and again got involved in activities and events within the town.

Never shy about expressing his opinions, his weekly bulletin columns were widely read — a tribute to his insight, his desire to keep people thinking and talking, and his willingness to “push the envelope.”

At the Airport Chapel, he was famous for his “brief” Masses — not only by plan but also by necessity. Yet whoever attended could tell you that you came away knowing you had been at Mass and he always gave you a message you could take to work or on a flight.

Beset recently by health problems, Father McLaughlin will retire from his Canton parish, effective Sept. 17, 2006.

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