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Obituary: Father Peter T. Girardin, longtime Veterans' Affairs hospital chaplain

By Father Robert M. O'Grady Pilot Staff
Posted: 3/18/2016

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Father Peter T. Girardin Pilot file photo

A longtime chaplain of the Veterans' Administration hospitals in many cities across the nation, Father Peter T. Girardin died in Miami on Feb. 19. The Lynn native was born Oct. 18, 1934, one of the two sons of the late Clement and Beatrice (Troy) Girardin. His brother, Robert of Sanbornton, N.H. is his immediate survivor.

Raised in Lynn, he was a son of St. Mary Parish where he celebrated his first Mass on Feb. 7, 1960. He had attended Boston College as a member of the Class of 1956 before entering the archdiocesan seminary across Commonwealth Avenue.

His only assignment in the archdiocese followed ordination. He was an assistant at Blessed Sacrament Parish, Cambridge for about four years. In October 1964, Richard Cardinal Cushing permitted him to enter the chaplain corps for Veterans' Hospitals. For the next 40 years he was a chaplain in various hospitals serving primarily the needs of veterans of all branches of the military services and their families.

He was granted senior priest status in July 2003 following his retirement from active service. He was chaplain at Houston's VA hospital at that time and remained to assist in the Houston area. Because of his many years away from the archdiocese and his long service in the Houston area, he celebrated his fiftieth anniversary in Houston in 2010.

In the past few years his health declined and he was cared for by members of the Philips family. The family had recently moved from Houston to Bal Harbour, Fla. They brought Father Girardin with them from the Lone Star State to the Sunshine State.

He died in Miami at Villa Maria Nursing Facility. A Mass was celebrated there following his death. Father Girardin donated his body to science. A memorial Mass is scheduled for April 3 at the VA Hospital Chapel in Houston. Following that Mass his remains will be interred in private committal services.