Father Robert Doherty named senior priest

Father Robert Doherty Pilot file photo

BRIGHTON -- Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley announced a few weeks ago that he had granted Father Robert Doherty’s request to become a senior priest of the archdiocese and to resign as pastor of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Revere. With this week’s announcement that Father Paul Aveni will become pastor of the Revere parish on Oct. 8, Father Doherty’s senior priest retirement status becomes effective as well.

A native of Winchester, Father Robert Doherty was raised in Reading’s St. Agnes Parish and has the distinction of being among the first members of the graduating class of the then newly-opened parish grammar school. He graduated from Central Catholic High in Lawrence and attended Merrimack College for two years before answering the call to priestly ministry, a call that was spurred on by an uncle, Father Robert Doherty, CM.

Becoming a student for the priesthood, he attended archdiocesan seminaries, first at Cardinal O’Connell Seminary in Jamaica Plain and then St. John’s Seminary, Brighton. He became a candidate for the Diocese of Burlington, Vt. and completed his theological studies at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada. Bishop Jeremiah Minihan ordained him to the priesthood for the Vermont Diocese on May 23, 1970. He returned to Boston in 1972 and was incardinated as priest of the archdiocese on April 28, 1976.

After his 1972 return and his subsequent incardination he served as an assistant in several parishes: St. John the Evangelist, Swampscott; Blessed Sacrament, Cambridge, St. Gregory, Dorchester and Sacred Heart, Lynn.

Leaving parish ministry for special ministry in prisons, he served as chaplain at the former MCI Walpole, now called Cedar Junction. He was in residence in several parishes during this chaplaincy: St. Timothy, Norwood; St. Pius Tenth, Milton; St. Patrick, Roxbury and Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton.

He returned to parish ministry in 1979 and subsequently was assistant at St. Francis de Sales, Charlestown; St. Ann, Boston; St. Peter, Gloucester; and Our Lady Star of the Sea, Marblehead.

In 1985 he was named parochial vicar at St. Margaret Parish, Burlington a position he held in the busy parish for some nine years. He served briefly as parochial vicar at St. Catherine of Alexandria in Westford before being named pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Medford on Sept. 1, 1994.

When the Medford Hillsides parish was closed in 2004, Father Doherty left a place that had become home for more than a decade and served on the archdiocesan Emergency Response Team before being named pastor at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish, Revere.

He was twice granted permission to attend priestly renewal programs. In 1991 he attended the program at the University of Notre Dame and in 2000 he was at the program offered by the Irish Redemptorists at Marinella Institute near Dublin.

An amiable and good-natured priest who willingly laughs at his own foibles and at the same time enjoys the company of good priestly friends, Father Dohetry had been experiencing some health problems. Although he will be a senior priest, he remains available to be of assistance to people, pastors and parishes of the archdiocese.

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