Obituary: Father Mark Carr former Abington pastor

Father Mark F. Carr Pilot file photo

At the time of his retirement as pastor of St. Nicholas Parish in Abington in 1997, Father Mark Carr reflected that he remembered the first “documentation” of his desire to be a priest was in a composition he wrote at the Henry Adams School in Boston -- in fourth grade!

A Bostonian through and through and the son of two immigrants from Ireland, Mark and Mary (McNamara) Carr, Mark F. Carr was born in Boston and educated in its public schools. The names of the schools echo the proud history of the city itself: Henry Adams, Francis Parkman and Boston Latin.

On graduating from the Boston Latin School in 1943, Father Carr entered Boston College and graduated with the class of 1947. He proudly wore his “Golden Eagle” on his black suit coat at every opportunity. He entered St. John’s Seminary and Archbishop Richard Cushing ordained him to the priesthood on Jan. 10, 1952 at Holy Cross Cathedral.

His first assignment was as an assistant at the huge Immaculate Conception Parish in Malden. He was to serve for 10 years and was a major player in the fundraising for the new church and rectory complex that still sits on the corner of Malden’s Fellsway East and Route 60.

Father Richard Mehm, the present pastor related that when he announced Father Carr’s death last week, people came to relate stories, one told of Father Carr’s dedication to young people and how frequently on a Sunday morning he would bring donuts to the teenagers whom the pastor had performing various tasks in the rectory.

He joked that the building was hardly completed and he had barely moved into his new rooms, when he was transferred to Our Lady of Sorrows in Sharon. His stay in Sharon was brief less than six months. In August 1962 he was assigned as chaplain at Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Boston. His stay there was a long as had been his tenure at Malden.

In 1972 he was named an assistant at Most Precious Blood Parish in Hyde Park where he would remain for 11 years. He was back in his element in the parish setting, but there was an additional duty in the Hyde Park parish. Since the pastor of the parish was Boston’s revered auxiliary bishop, Lawrence Riley, the assistants served as the bishop’s masters of ceremonies at various episcopal functions, especially at confirmations. Following the bishop’s death Father Carr related multiple stories about his travels and life with Bishop Riley. Always conveyed with a deep respect and obvious affection for one Father Carr considered a role model and priestly exemplar.

Cardinal Medeiros named him pastor at St. Nicholas Parish in Abington September 1983, and Cardinal Law named him vicar forane of the Brockton vicariate of the South Region in 1988. On his 71st birthday, Feb. 4, 1997, Father Carr retired from Abington, but certainly not from his priestly ministry.

During his retirement he assisted a former fellow assistant at Most Precious Blood, Father Thomas Murray who had been named pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Natick. The two friends could be seen frequently in area restaurants on Saturday evenings. Father Thomas Maguire, presently pastor of St. Helen, Norwell, once pastor to St. Jeremiah, Framingham, said “Either Mark or Tom would call and invite me to join them. They were great company and good story tellers.”

South Region Bishop John Dooher was the principal celebrant and Father Thomas Murray was the homilist at Father Carr’s funeral Mass celebrated May 8 at Sacred Heart Church, Roslindale. Concelebrants were priest friends and classmates of Father Carr including Father Arthur Driscoll, Thomas Donohoe and Joseph Rothwell, and Father James Knox, of the Portland Diocese and Father Francis Holland of the Burlington Diocese.

Following the funeral Mass Father Carr was buried in the family lot at Old Calvary Cemetery in Boston’s Roslindale section.

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