Local

Father John Silk was pastor in Wrentham

byFather Robert M. OGrady
8/29/2008

Father John Silk Pilot file photo

North Regional Bishop Francis Irwin was the principal celebrant of the funeral Mass of Father John D. Silk on Aug. 23 at St. Rita Church, Lowell. Father Silk died at DYouville Senior Care Center in Lowell on Aug. 19. He had turned 80 years old on March 4.

A native of Lowell, he attended local schools and graduated from Keith Academy in 1945. He was a member of the first class, graduated in 1951, from the then recently opened Merrimack College in North Andover. He served in the United States Navy during the Korean conflict and subsequently entered the archdiocesan seminary.

Richard Cardinal Cushing ordained him to the priesthood on Feb. 2, 1959, at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. In another first for him, Father Silk was among those ordained in the months following the Boston archbishops being named a cardinal by Blessed John XXIII.

During the first 25 years of his priestly life he served in five assignments. Immediately following ordination he was named an assistant at St. Jerome, Weymouth. Four years later he was assigned as chaplain at Cambridges Holy Ghost, now Youville, Hospital where he served for 10 years. In 1973 he returned to parish ministry as an assistant at St. Joseph in Belmont. Further assignments brought him to St. Margaret, Burlington (1980-1984) as an associate and to St. Camillus, Arlington (1984-1987) as parochial vicar.

Cardinal Bernard Law named him pastor of St. Mary Parish in Wrentham and when he left that parish he assisted at Immaculate Conception, Newburyport and Holy Family, Amesbury until 2004.

With declining health he eventually moved to DYouville Senior Care in Lowell. He was back in the city where he had been born, a son of the late Adam and Mary (Cogger) Silk.

An avid golfer and traveler, he also enjoyed Big Band music.

Father William C. Burckhart was the homilist at Father Silks funeral Mass and he concelebrated with Bishop Irwin and St. Ritas pastor and Merrimack Region, Vicariate IIs dean, Father Daniel Magni among others.

Father Silks survivors are his sister Mary McInerney, Chelmsford and James of Lowell. Following the funeral Mass Father Silk was buried in St. Mary Cemetery, Tewksbury.