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Obituary: Father James L. Fahey, former seminary librarian, Beverly pastor

By Father Robert M. O'Grady Pilot Staff
Posted: 3/25/2016

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Father James L. Fahey Pilot file photo

With more than 30 years of his priestly ministry spent as the librarian at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Father James L. Fahey helped in the formation of hundreds of priest formed at the seminary for second careers almost from the day the seminary's doors opened.

The only son of the late Leo and Selma (Condon) Fahey, he was raised with his sister, now deceased, in St. Margaret Parish, Dorchester. He attended the parish elementary school and went to Boston College High School and on to the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.

Following his seminary studies at St. John's, Brighton, he was ordained at Holy Name Church, West Roxbury by auxiliary Bishop Jeremiah Minihan on Feb. 2, 1959. He told The Pilot that "there were 76 ordained on that day, 56 for Boston. So they had to send some of us to Holy Name."

His first assignment was as an assistant at St. Francis of Assisi, Braintree, for six years. The rector of St. John's Seminary, Msgr. Matthew Stapleton had suggested that he might pursue graduate studies in library science which he did for two years at Simmons College. During those years he lived at St. Irene, Carlisle and St. Paul, Wellesley.

In June 1967, just two years after its opening, Father Fahey was appointed librarian at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary. He briefly lived in residence at St. Linus Rectory in nearby Natick and after moving to residence in seminary, he continued to assist in the Natick parish in weekends.

In the years at Weston, he served not only the students and faculty but also with seven of the seminary's eight rectors. In 1996 he returned to parish ministry, serving briefly as a parochial vicar at St. Patrick Parish, Natick.

Cardinal Bernard Law appointed him pastor to St. Margaret Parish in Beverly on July 1, 1997. The small parish nestled amidst the often towering and expansive manses of the Beverly Farms area was a good fit for both the new pastor and the parish.

In 2009, Father Fahey resigned as pastor in Beverly, having celebrated his golden jubilee of priestly ordination earlier that year. During his retirement he lived for some years in residence at St. Mary Rectory in Georgetown, where he also assisted the pastor with regular parish duties.

Father Fahey died on March 16 at Marian Manor, South Boston where he had been under the care of the Carmelite Sisters of the Aged and Infirm for some months.

His funeral Mass was celebrated on March 21 at St. Mary Church, Georgetown. Merrimack Regional Bishop Robert Hennessey was the principal celebrant of the Mass; former rector of Pope St. John Seminary, Msgr. Cornelius McRae, now of St. John's Seminary, was the homilist and concelebrating were Father Richard Burton, present pastor of St. Mary, Georgetown and the parish's previous pastor, Father Robert Poitras, administrator of Our Lady of Grace Parish, Pepperell. Following the funeral Mass, Father Fahey was buried in St. Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury.