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Fathers Chase and Kelleher named senior priests


Father Robert N. Kelleher and Father Francis G. Chase. Pilot file photo

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Two priests of the archdiocese have been granted senior priest status by Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley: Father Francis G. Chase and Father Robert N. Kelleher. The changes became effective on Dec. 31, 2006 and Jan. 1, 2007 respectively.

Father Francis G. Chase

A native of Damariscotta, Maine where he was born on Dec. 25, 1931, Father Chase completed seminary formation at St. John, Brighton and Archbishop Richard Cushing ordained him to the priesthood on Feb. 2, 1957. His first assignment at St. Anthony of Padua, Woburn lasted exactly a year. He served for eight years at St. Anne in Boston’s Readville section until 1967. Msgr. Peter Conley, pastor at St. Jude, Norfolk was, at the time, a young seminarian from the parish and noted that young Father Chase was active with young people and supportive of his priestly vocation.

Following Readville, he went to Sacred Heart, Watertown for eight more years; once again he was well loved by young and old alike. He served briefly as an associate at Immaculate Conception in Marlborough and was on a leave of absence from 1977 through 2002, when he returned to active priestly ministry and served at Holy Family parish Duxbury. Father Chase has always enjoyed priestly fraternity and has maintained a steady contact not only with parishioners he served but also with brother priests. In his retirement he will be residing in his own home.

Father Robert N. Kelleher

A Melrose native where he was born on July 23, 1934, Father Kelleher attended archdiocesan seminaries and Cardinal Cushing ordained him to the priesthood at Holy Cross Cathedral on Feb. 2, 1959.

Following ordination he served as an assistant in two parishes: St. John the Baptist, Peabody (1959-1967) and Sacred Heart, East Boston (1967-1969). He pursued graduate studies in theology at Fordham University and was granted a masters degree specializing in dogmatic theology.

On his return to the archdiocese in 1970 he was named an assistant director of the archdiocesan CCD Office (now the Office of Religious Education); during the next 12 years in that office he lived in residence at Corpus Christi rectory in Newton.

Cardinal Medeiros named him pastor of St. Edward parish in Brockton and he remained there for the next 18 years, retiring from parish ministry in October 2000. Since then he has been a member of the Emergency Response Team of the archdiocese and he has assisted in many and varied parishes, covering for priests during vacations, extended illnesses or priestly renewal programs.

Although “retired” he will still be assisting as available in parishes and Father Kelleher will be residing in his own home.

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