Obituary: Father John Daley, former pastor in Malden

Father John A. Daley Pilot file photo

Former auxiliary Bishop John Boles was the principal celebrant of the funeral Mass of Father John A. Daley on Aug. 1 at St. Joseph Church, Malden. Father Daley had been the pastor of the parish for almost 20 years prior to his 2002 retirement. The homilist of the Mass was one of Father Daley’s classmates and a close friend, Father Eugene Curtin, a senior priest of the archdiocese living at Regina Cleri. Father Daley died on July 28 at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, where he had once served as chaplain.

A Beverly native who was born on March 22, 1930, Father Daley was raised in St. Margaret Parish in the “Farms” section of the city. He was one of the seven children of the late Charles and Mary (Cormican) Daley; he had one brother and five sisters. He attended the parish grammar school staffed by the Sisters of Notre Dame and graduated from St. John Preparatory School in neighboring Danvers, a member of the class of 1948. He once commented that the Xaverian Brothers at the school were instrumental in his answering the call to his priestly vocation.

He entered the archdiocesan seminaries following high school and Archbishop Richard Cushing ordained him to the priesthood on Feb. 2, 1956. Following ordination the archbishop appointed him as assistant at St. Theresa of Lisieux Parish in North Reading. It was the first of four parishes where he would serve as an assistant. In 1957 he was named to St. Jude, Waltham serving until 1960 when he was named to St. Mary of the Annunciation in Melrose. From 1969 to 1975 he was an assistant at St. Francis of Assisi in Braintree.

He moved from parish ministry to hospital chaplaincy, which many priests admit is both the most challenging and time consuming, yet seems also the most rewarding. He served as chaplain of the Melrose-Wakefield Hospital for more than six years between March, 1975 and October 1983.

He was named pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Malden in 1983 and served there until Cardinal Law granted him senior priest/retirement status on May 15, 2002. At that time he told The Pilot how happy he had been as pastor of the parish and how much he loved the people. He also spoke glowingly of his brother priests “great men I have been associated with” over the years.

Following ‘‘retirement” he moved to St. Agnes Rectory as a senior priest in residence. The Arlington parish, admittedly one of the busiest parishes in the archdiocese, is not one where you really go to “retire” nor did Father Daley. He celebrated Mass, visited with people, and as Father James O’Leary of neighboring St. Camillus said, “He was here whenever we had collaborative meetings, events or celebrations.” A shameless “homer” when it came to sports it was not unusual for him to refer to the local teams when preaching, nor making the latest successes or failures a favored topic of conversation.

Joining Bishop Boles and Father Curtin as concelebrants of the funeral Mass was a host of senior priests, among them were Fathers Arthur Driscoll, Danvers; Lawrence Rondeau, Salem; a large group from Regina Cleri, among these: Msgr. James Tierney, Fathers Gerard Brennan, James Curtin, Thomas Keane, John Mansfield, Michael Regan, and Lawrence Wetterholm. Also concelebrating were Archdiocesan Vicar General Father Richard Erikson; and from St. Agnes, Arlington, the parish’s pastor, Father Brian Flatley; and parochial vicars Fathers John Graham and Joseph D’Onofrio.

Following the funeral Mass Father Daley was buried in St. Mary Cemetery, Salem. His immediate survivors are his sisters Ruth Wiseman and Catherine LeClerc, both of Beverly and Bernardine Dooley of Enfield, Conn., and a host of nieces and nephews.

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