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Obituary: Father Daniel Gilmartin longtime Bellingham pastor


Father Daniel Gilmartin Pilot file photo

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He was pastor of St. Brenda Parish in the southwestern corner of the archdiocese for two months shy of 25 years. Father Daniel Gilmartin, age 88, died at Carmel Terrace in Framingham rather unexpectedly on Oct. 8. Although he was well into his eighties he seemed to be in relatively good health. He had moved to Carmel Terrace in March 2008.

A Brockton native where he was born on May 12, 1921 he was the only child of the late Michael and Margaret (Quill) Gilmartin. After attending local schools he went to Worcester as a student at the College of the Holy Cross. At the time of his retirement in 1996 he said that his vocation was planted and nourished in his family and the example of the faith of his parents was his prime motivator.

Following his seminary formation at St. John’s in Brighton he was ordained by Archbishop Cushing at the cathedral on June 14, 1946; he celebrated his first Mass at his home parish, St. Patrick, Brockton.

His first two assignments, both in parishes and both short lived were to Blessed Sacrament, Walpole and St. John, in Boston’s Roxbury section. In 1947 he was assigned to the faculty of St. Sebastian Country Day School, then in Newton. That assignment lasted two months shy of a quarter century. He taught religion and mathematics, and was for 12 of those years the school’s basketball coach. During those years he both assisted at and lived at the Carroll School for the Blind, Newton, St. John’s Seminary, Brighton and at several archdiocesan parishes: St. Joseph, Somerville; St. Stephen, Boston’s North End; St. Mary of the Assumption, Brookline and for 19 of those years at Sacred Heart, Watertown.

During his leadership at Bellingham the rural parish grew in population and attendance; two major events happened during his tenure: the parish’s Centennial Celebrations in 1995; and the building of a new parish center in 1992.

Father Gilmartin’s funeral was celebrated at St. Brendan Church on Oct. 14 with Father David Mullen, the present pastor, as the principal celebrant. Retired Auxiliary Bishop John Boles, with whom Father Gilmartin served at St. Sebastian, attended in choir and was the homilist. Among his priest friends, classmates and contemporaries concelebrating were Msgr. Albert Contons, Regina Cleri, Boston and Father James McCune, Director of the Office for Senior Priests, Boston.

Following his funeral Mass Father Gilmartin was buried in Calvary Cemetery, Brockton.

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