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Obituary: Father Arthur M. Calter, former Army chaplain and Hingham pastor


Father Arthur M. Calter Pilot file photo

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Greatly admired among brother priests and in the several parishes where he served as pastor or assistant or parochial vicar and also among those for whom he was chaplain during his military service, Father Arthur M. Calter died at Regina Cleri on April 16, 2017, Easter Sunday.

A Brookline native he was the last surviving of the five children of the late Catherine (McMorrow) Calter. In addition to his parents he was predeceased by his brothers Boston priests: Fathers John Calter and William Calter; another brother Thomas and his twin sister, Catherine Carrigg.

The strongly Catholic family lived in St. Mary of the Assumption parish and attended the parish's elementary and high school. An alumnus of St. Bonaventure University in Buffalo, N.Y. Father Calter returned to study for the priesthood at St. John's Seminary and Boston auxiliary Bishop Eric F. MacKenzie ordained him to the priesthood at Holy Name Church, West Roxbury on Feb. 5, 1956.

During the following ten years he served as an assistant at four archdiocesan parishes: Immaculate Conception, Marlborough; Immaculate Conception, Salem; St. Bartholomew, Needham and St. Francis of Assisi, Braintree.

As the American military presence and action expanded in Vietnam in those years, so did the need for chaplains for all branches of the armed services. Father Calter volunteered for the Army and after training at Fort Dix in New Jersey he was assigned a tour in Vietnam. Not surprisingly that had an immense effect on him. He often commented on the horrors of war, but the bravery and determination of his soldiers. In the following years he was assigned at Fort Carson, Colo.; The Presidio, San Francisco, Calif.; Fort Belvoir, Va.; Fort Hamilton, N.Y.; Fort Hood, Texas; and Fort Meade, Md.

Returning to the archdiocese in 1976 he was briefly assigned as an associate at Sacred Heart, Weymouth, before assuming his first assignment as pastor at the venerable St. Augustine Parish in South Boston (1977-1983). From 1983 to 1987 he was pastor at Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in Newton. He returned to Boston in 1987 this time as pastor of St. Mark Parish in Dorchester serving as pastor until 1993.

Bernard Cardinal Law named him pastor of Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Parish in Hingham in 1993 and granted him senior priest/retirement status on Jan. 24, 2000. As a senior priest he chose to reside initially at Sacred Heart Rectory in Weymouth where he had been an associate following his return from the military chaplaincy.

Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley was the principal celebrant of Father Calter's Funeral Mass at Resurrection in Hingham on April 21. Father John Unni, pastor of St. Cecilia Parish in Boston's Back Bay was the homilist; for many years while Father Calter was resident at Regina Cleri he assisted at St. Cecilia's principally on weekends but also at other times. Among the concelebrants were South Regional Bishop John Dooher; Msgr. John P. McDonough, senior priest, Regina Cleri; and Father George Carrigg, St. Christopher, Columbia Point (also Father Calter's brother in law). Father Calter was buried in St. Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury.

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