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Obituary: Boston’s labor Jesuit, Father Edward Boyle


Father Edward Boyle, SJ Pilot file photo

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His early life would have suggested that he would have been on the fast track for high times in business or industry -- neither he nor those who knew him would have thought, at the time, that he would end his life serving the cause of the working man.

Born in Belmont, Father Edward Boyle was one of the six children of the late John and Marie (Fenton) Boyle. Born on Sept. 11, 1931 and after attending local schools in Belmont, he went to Dartmouth College on a Navy ROTC scholarship and upon graduation he continued studies and received and MBA from Dartmouth’s Amos Tuck School. A short career in the Navy followed as did an equally short one working for a shipping company in New York.

Sensing another call, he entered the Jesuits in 1958. Almost everyone with him as a novice was probably 10 years his junior! He completed his seminary studies and was ordained to the priesthood in 1969.

A meeting with brother Jesuit, the late Father Mortimer Gavin sparked an interest in Father Gavin’s own passion for the workingman and he worked with and then succeeded Father Gavin at the archdiocese’s Labor Guild.

For the remainder of his life he worked tirelessly for the “average Joe.” Keeping the agenda of the workingman constantly before the eyes of those for whom they worked, of consumers and before the Church.

Although he realized the need for meeting people in places of employment which included offices and factories, he seemed to love to meet anyone, anywhere, at anytime. He was ready always with a firm handshake; a broad smile and a word of thanks for the smallest kindness and of encouragement for your work.

On receipt of the news of Father Boyle’s death, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley praised ‘Boston’s own labor priest,’ saying We will miss his energy, knowledge, and passion for the ministry he was called to by God.”

Father Boyle’s funeral Mass was fittingly celebrated in one of Boston’s historically workingman’s neighborhoods, Mattapan. The Mass was at St. Angela Merici Church on Nov. 19. He was buried with his deceased brother Jesuits at the Jesuit Cemetery in Weston.

In addition to those who benefited from his priestly life, Father leaves his brother Jesuits and his sisters: Suzanne Doherty, Medford; Marylee Pelosky, and Patricia Coughlan, both of Dennis, and brothers John, Charlestown and Gerard, Woburn as well as several nieces and nephews.

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