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Obituary: Father James Gibbons, former Scituate pastor, at 83

By Father Robert M. O’Grady
Posted: 8/28/2009

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Father James M. Gibbons Pilot file photo

Father James M. Gibbons who was a priest of the archdiocese since then Archbishop Richard Cushing ordained him on Jan. 10, 1952 at Holy Cross Cathedral died in Marshfield on Aug. 21. He was the sole surviving child of the four children of the late John and Nora (Navin) Gibbons.

A Roslindale native and a son of Sacred Heart Parish, he was an alumnus of Roslindale High School. He attended both Boston College (class of 1945) and MIT. At MIT he studied meteorology and had “field” experience with the topic during his Air Force career prior to entering archdiocesan seminaries.

On completion of his seminary studies and following ordination he was assigned as an assistant at Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted Parish in Waltham. He had three additional assignments as an assistant in archdiocesan parishes: St. James, Medford (1956-1963); Our Lady of Good Voyage, Gloucester (1963-1967) and St. Charles Borromeo, Waltham (1967-1973).

He returned to Boston College in 1955 and was granted a Masters Degree in Education.

Cardinal Medeiros named him pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Carver and six years later he named him administrator and subsequently pastor of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish in Scituate. Cardinal Bernard Law accepted his request to resign the parish and granted him senior priest/retirement status on Nov, 5, 1997.

At the time of his retirement he recalled fondly two priests of his home parish who had lasting effect on him and his call to priestly ministry. The oft stated maxim that every priest should be a vocations director seemed to be true of Fathers John Hart and George Carozza in terms of their effect on young Jim Gibbons. He cited them as “examples of good priests” who would easily attract others to priestly ministry.

Father Gibbons was himself an example of priestly zeal, available to parishioners and encouraging them in their journey of faith.

South Region Bishop John Dooher was the principal celebrant of Father Gibbons’ funeral Mass at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Cohasset on Aug. 26. Father Gibbons’ classmate and close friend, Father Arthur Flynn, served as the homilist. Among the concelebrants were Central Region Bishop Robert Hennessey; St. Anthony’s pastor, Father John Mulvehill; archdiocesan office for senior priests director, Father James McCune; classmates Father Arthur Driscoll, senior priest in Danvers; and Father Edward McLaughlin, senior priest in residence at St. Thomas Aquinas, Bridgewater. Other priests and contemporaries joined Bishop Dooher as concelebrants as well.

Father Gibbons’ survivors are his numerous nieces and nephews, priest classmates and friends, and grateful parishioners from the various parishes where he served. Following his funeral Mass, Father Gibbons was buried in St. Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury.