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Meet our priests: Father John J. McCormick


Father John J. McCormick Pilot photo/ Courtesy Office for Vocations

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Parish/assignment: St. Theresa (Billerica) -- Senior Priest in Residence

Place of birth: Boston

How many brothers and sisters do you have? 3 sisters - 1 brother (he’s deceased)

High school: St. Columbkille, Brighton

College/University/ Seminary

Undergraduate - Boston College (2 years)

Seminary (Theology) -- St. John’s Seminary

Date of ordination: Feb. 2, 1956

What assignments have you had since ordination?

St. James (Medford) 1956-1966, St. Colman (Brockton) 1966-1971, Studied in Rome 1971-1972, St. John’s Seminary (Spiritual Director) 1972-1977, St. Anselm (Sudbury) 1977-1982, St. Anthony (Allston, pastor) 1982-1988, St. Theresa (Billerica) 1988-Present

What have been some of the greatest joys for you as a priest?

Working with the youth at St. James, Medford; living Cursillo at St. Colman, Brockton; ordinations of men I advised while at the seminary; witnessing and collaboration with lay leaders at St. Anselm, Sudbury; weekly get-togethers with priest friends for prayer, sharing, lunch and tennis; RCIA retreats; and the Easter Vigil.

Who influenced your vocation most to consider the priesthood?

Two teachers at St. Columbkille, Sister Julie and Sister Theresette; Father Larry Crowley, also at St. Columbkille; my Irish Franciscan cousin Sister Maureen Lyons. The quiet faith, encouragement and prayers of Mom, Dad, and family

What events or practices in your life helped you to discover and discern your call to the priesthood?

Nearly every year there were First Masses at St. Columbkille Church in Brighton (I was a choir boy from age 9 to 17). Delivering newspapers nearly every morning (age 12-14) and I got to talk to Seminarians e.g. Charlie McCarthy, Bob Kickham, Bob Ryer and George Kerr. A Day of Recollection offered by my Latin and English professor at B.C., Father Paul McNulty S.J.

What is one of your favorite scripture passages and why?

The opening lines of Psalm 40 “I have waited for the Lord. He stooped toward me and heard my cry...” I see God’s hand and God’s love for me in so much of this prayer.

What are some of your hobbies?

Playing tennis weekly with good friends, playing golf on Mondays with three wonderful minister friends, rooting for the Red Sox, Patriots, B.C. and Billerica High School

What advice would you give to a young man who is considering the priesthood?

Don’t be afraid to let someone know. Talking to Father McNulty that Sunday afternoon in April, 1949 was a turning point for me...someone told me to say 3 Hail Mary’s every night asking our Blessed Mother to help you find out what God wants you to be “when you grow up.”

What are some of your favorite books/ spiritual reading/ magazines?

For vacations--mysteries, anything by Wm. Barry S.J. or Henri Nouwen, America and The Pilot

Through the cardinal, God is calling each of us personally to help rebuild His Church. How must the priest respond to this mandate today?

By being present to the “regulars” in positive ways (Sunday mornings, hospital visits), by encouraging lay leadership and working closely with them (RCIA, Arise, Parish Council)

When Cardinal Seán came to Boston, he wrote a pastoral letter entitled: “Vocations: Everybody’s Business.” What are some ways that we can help all individuals and families understand their role in promoting and supporting vocations?

A strong and vibrant Youth Program, “Vocation” talks (The witness of priests, women religious, married couples, college age young men and women who have volunteered to work in Appalachia or in the Missions or the Peace Corps), prayers at Mass and other times.

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