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Obituary: Father Paul Kelley, archdiocesan priest for 60 years


Father Paul Kelley Pilot file photo

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Father Paul G. Kelley, who celebrated the 60th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on May 4 of this year died at St. Patrick Manor in Framingham on Oct. 11. He was 85.

Born in Boston on Dec. 15, 1923, his family moved to Milton. He completed his seminary formation at St. John’s in Brighton and Archbishop Richard Cushing ordained him to the priesthood at Holy Cross Cathedral on May 4, 1949.

Following a custom of the time, newly ordained were frequently sent on a short term basis to a “summer” parish, Father Kelley’s first “summer” assignment was to St. Mary in Hull. In October 1949 he was named an assistant at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in South Boston and just a year later he was assigned to undertake graduate studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

On his return to the archdiocese he was assigned to teach science at Cardinal O’Connell Seminary in Jamaica Plain. Illness forced him to leave the seminary staff in 1958 and he returned to parish ministry as an assistant at St. Patrick, Lawrence. Eleven years later he was assigned to St. Raphael Parish in Medford where he served as an assistant, then briefly as administrator and then as an associate.

In 1983 he moved as an associate to St. Mary Parish in Winchester where he would serve until his retirement, and indeed beyond. On Jan. 1, 1994 Cardinal law granted him senior priest/retirement status. He, however, remained assisting at St. Mary in Winchester. The parish’s pastor, Father Richard Messina said “He was a kind and gentle man and we loved having him here at St. Mary’s.”

In December 2007 as his health demanded greater care he moved to St. Patrick Manor in Framingham. He died there on Oct. 11.

Bishop Francis X. Irwin was scheduled to be the principal celebrant of Father Kelley’s funeral Mass at St. Mary Church, Winchester on Oct. 15 with Father Messina as the homilist. Among those concelebrating were Father James McCune, Office of Senior Priests, Boston and Father Richard Beaulieu, parochial vicar at St. Mary.

Father Kelley’s survivors are his siblings Sister Ann G. Kelley, SND, Cambridge; Francis and Daniel, both of N. Car.; Mary Dacey, Cleveland, Ohio; and Sheila Doyle, Hingham. Following the funeral Mass, Father Kelley was buried in Milton Cemetery, Milton.

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