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Obituary: Father Daniel Hegarty retired pastor and long time fire department chaplain

Father Daniel P. Hegarty Pilot photo

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Father Daniel P. Hegarty, retired pastor of St. Anthony of Padua parish in Boston’s Allston section died in Newton on Jan. 13. The Winthrop native had celebrated his 75th birthday on June 12, 2009.

Father Hegarty was a son of the late Daniel and Helen (Frazier) Hegarty and was raised in Boston’s Brighton section. His father was a district chief in the Boston Fire Department and imparted to his son a respect and admiration for firefighters that lasted Father Hegarty’s life. An alumnus of Cardinal O’Connell Seminary and St. John’s Seminary he was ordained at Holy Cross Cathedral on Feb. 2, 1963 by Richard Cardinal Cushing. His first assignment was to be his only one outside the city of Boston and it was to St. Maria Goretti in Lynnfield.

Apparently he and two other classmates or contemporaries were assigned to neighboring parishes on the north shore. All three were “sparks” or better fire chaplains in training. Their respective pastors were also contemporaries and friends of each other and were greatly entertained by the energetic response of their young curates to the fire radios blasting alarms to their young associates’ rectory quarters and their rapid response, depending on the number of alarms, to a particular fire.

His heart always in Boston, Father Hegarty returned to Hub on July 26, 1966 when he was named associate at Sacred Heart, Roslindale. Eleven years later he went briefly as an associate to St. Gregory in Dorchester and on Nov. 22, 1977 he was named an associate at Holy Name, West Roxbury. He remained there until his appointment by Cardinal Bernard Law as pastor of St. Anthony of Padua in Allston on June 21, 1988.

During all his Boston years he also served as an assistant chaplain of the Boston Fire Department, following in his father’s footsteps at least in some way. He relished telling stories of heroic and not so heroic episodes in the history of the BFD -- fact or myth were often indistinguishable, but you had to love his delight in telling the tale.

Poor health forced his early retirement from his duties as pastor in Allston and Archbishop O’Malley granted him senior priest/retirement status on Sept. 1, 2004. For the past nearly five years he had been in steady physical decline and he, as they say, answered the last alarm on Jan. 13.

West Regional Bishop Walter Edyvean was the principal celebrant of Father Hegarty’s funeral Mass at St. Anthony of Padua Church on Jan. 19. Joining him as concelebrants were former auxiliary Bishop John Boles; Father Richard Erikson, archdiocesan vicar general and moderator of the curia; Boston Fire Chaplain and pastor of St. Francis de Sales, Charlestown, Father Daniel Mahoney, who was also the homilist; Father Robert Casey, pastor of Gate of Heaven and St. Brigid parishes, South Boston; Father John Carmichael, St. Agnes, Arlington; Father John Schatzel, senior priest liaison; Brandeis University Chaplain, Father Walter Cuenin, and Fathers James Rafferty and James Hawker, classmates of Father Hegarty.

Following the funeral Mass Father Hegarty was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Brighton. Immediate survivors are his sisters Mary and Ann Hegarty, both of Newton, and Helen of Falmouth.

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