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Obituary: Father Francis D. Garrity, former pastor in Medford and Needham

By Father Robert M. O'Grady Pilot Staff
Posted: 6/3/2016

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Father Francis D. Garrity Pilot file photo

Msgr. Paul Garrity, pastor of Sacred Heart and St. Brigid Parish both in Lexington, was the principal celebrant and homilist of his cousin's Funeral Mass at St. John the Evangelist Church, Swampscott on May 26. Father Francis D. Garrity died on May 21.

A son of the late William and Gertrude (Quinn) Garrity, he grew up in Revere at Immaculate Conception Parish, and attended the parish's schools, graduating from high school in 1945. World War II would end a few months later, but young Frank enlisted in the US Navy nevertheless.

With the war's end he returned home and went to St. Anselm College in Manchester graduating in the Class of 1951. To the end of his life, he was a proud alumnus of the Benedictine college. Following studies at St. John Seminary, he was ordained to the priesthood at Holy Cross Cathedral by Archbishop Richard J. Cushing on Feb. 2, 1956.

For the next 47 years, he served in parishes of the archdiocese: Sacred Heart, Lexington (1956-1958); Blessed Sacrament, Cambridge (1958-1961); St. Joseph, Needham (1961-1974); St. Raphael, Medford (1974-1981), in these he was either assistant, associate or parochial vicar.

He was pastor in two parishes, St. Francis of Assisi, Medford (1981-1988) and St. Bartholomew, Needham (1988-2003). While in Medford he also served as Episcopal Vicar of the Medford Vicariate of the Lynn Region (1978-1988). In Medford he was chaplain of the city's Police Department and in Needham chaplain of both the Police and Fire Departments. The Medford Department provided an escort and honor guard at the Funeral Mass.

Both before and following his retirement in 2003 he was a frequent celebrant of Mass on Catholic TV. Parishioners of the "Parish of the Airwaves" saw what his parishioners had experienced for years "dedicated and reverent celebration of the Mass."

Joining Msgr. Garrity as concelebrants were Fathers Brian Kiely and Gerard Petringa, respectively regional vicars of the West and North regions; Father Henry Cunney, Regina Cleri, Boston; South Boston's Father Robert Casey, one time parochial vicar with Father Garrity at St. Francis; and Father Jonathan DeFelice, OSB, representing Father Garrity's beloved alma mater, St. Anselm College.

Father Garrity is survived by his sister, Virginia Grayson, Salem. Following his Funeral Mass Father Garrity was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Malden.