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Obituary: Father Robert Tyrrell, former pastor in Weston


Father Robert D. Tyrrell Pilot file photo

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Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley was the principal celebrant of the funeral Mass of Father Robert D. Tyrrell on Feb. 18. The Mass was celebrated at Father Tyrrell’s home parish, St. Agatha in Milton.

A son of the late Thomas and Mary (Byrne) Tyrrell, Robert was one of the 14 children of the strong Irish Catholic family. He was born in Boston on Nov. 26, 1934. Raised in Milton, he attended the then recently established parish grammar school at St. Agatha and was in the first graduating class of the school. The Jesuits provided his education in high school at Boston College High School, and in Worcester at the College of the Holy Cross, from which he was graduated in 1957.

He enlisted in the United States Navy and served for five years in the engineering corps. Returning to the archdiocese, he entered St. John’s Seminary and on completion of the seminary program, Cardinal Richard Cushing ordained him to the priesthood at the Cathedral on June 7, 1967. He celebrated his first Mass at St. Agatha.

He was named an assistant at St. Joseph Parish, Quincy following ordination and an associate at St. Bridget, Framingham in June 1972. Cardinal Humberto Medeiros named him chaplain at Cathedral High School during which time he lived in residence at the cathedral rectory in Boston’s South End.

He re-upped with the Navy joining the reserves in 1969 attaining the rank of captain and serving as chaplain at a reserve unit in Quincy.

Following his appointment to Cathedral High School, he and Father Paul Sughrue, a fellow alumnus of Holy Cross and the present pastor of St. Clare Parish in Braintree, served for six years (1985-1991) in a team ministry at Sacred Heart Parish in Middleborough.

He was granted a sabbatical in Spring 1991 and attended the Priestly Renewal Program at the University of Notre Dame; in the fall of 1998 he attended another program at St. Patrick Seminary, Menlo Park, Calif.

Returning from South Bend, he was named chaplain at Archbishop Williams High School, Braintree serving 1991-1992.

Cardinal Bernard Law named him pastor of St. Julia Parish in Weston where he served until declining health required his taking a sick leave (2003-2004) and then being named a senior priest on April 1, 2004. During his tenure at St. Julia, he was also vicar forane or dean of the Marlborough Vicariate of the West Region (1996-1998).

Most recently he had been confined to a more specialized care facility as his health continued to deteriorate.

Father Tyrrell died in Braintree on Feb. 15.

Concelebrating the funeral Mass with Cardinal O’Malley were more than 30 classmates and friends of Father Tyrrell including Msgr. Peter Martocchio; archdiocesan vicar general, Father Richard M. Erikson; Father Kevin Sepe, pastor, St. Francis of Assisi, Braintree; Father Paul Sughrue; and Father Paul Rouse.

The homilist for the Mass was Father Thomas C. Foley who spoke of his long friendship with Father Tyrrell, which was formed and forged on area golf courses.

Father Tyrrell’s survivors are his brothers; Eugene, Braintree and William, Niantic, Conn.; and two sisters Dorothy Silk, Norwood and Patricia Lindqvist, Marina del Rey, Calif.

Following the Funeral Mass, Father Tryrrell was buried in Milton Cemetery, Milton.

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