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Obituary: Father Francis Gallagher, former pastor in Medford


Father Francis L. Gallagher Pilot file photo

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Father Francis L. Gallagher, a proud son of St. Gregory Parish in Boston’s Dorchester section died on Jan. 28 at St. Patrick Manor, Framingham. He had been in residence with the Carmelite Sisters at Carmel Terrace since June 2001 and moved more recently to St. Patrick Manor when he required more care because of his advancing years and declining health.

A son of the late Francis and Helen (Haverty) Gallagher he was raised in the Lower Mills parish attending the parish grammar school and then Boston College High School. He went to Boston College and on graduation from the Heights enrolled in St. John’s Seminary. On May 6, 1948 Archbishop Richard Cushing ordained him to the priesthood at Holy Cross Cathedral.

His first assignment was as an assistant at St. Mary of the Nativity in Scituate for a few months following ordination. Next followed a series of assignments all as an assistant or associate in archdiocesan parishes: Immaculate Conception, Marlborough (1948-1955); St. Francis de Sales, Roxbury (1955-1956); Our Lady Help of Christians, Newton (1956-1965); Immaculate Conception, Revere (1965-1973).

Humberto Cardinal Medeiros named him pastor at St. James Parish, Medford on May 22, 1973 and he served there until Cardinal Bernard Law granted him senior priest/retirement status on Nov. 28, 1993. During his tenure at St. James he was named to the additional responsibilities of State Chaplain of the Catholic Daughters of America, a position presently held by Father Kevin O’Leary, rector of Holy Cross Cathedral, who said “They loved him. They still talk about him. He was a great help in keeping the Daughters alive.”

Following his retirement he lived in residence at St. Andrew Parish, Billerica from 1993 to 2001, when he moved first to Carmel Terrace in Framingham and then later to St. Patrick, Manor.

His Funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Patrick Manor Nursing Home Chapel on Feb. 1, with Msgr. William Glynn, senior priest of the archdiocese as principal celebrant and the homilist for the Mass was Deacon Arthur F. Rogers. Among the priests concelebrating were Msgrs. John McDonough; Robert Gigi, pastor of St. Linus, Natick and James Tierney, Regina Cleri, Boston and Father Robert Bergeron also of Regina Cleri.

Father Gallagher’s sister Helen Smith of Framingham survives him. Following the Funeral Mass Father Gallagher was buried in New Calvary Cemetery, Mattapan.

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