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Obituary: Father Terence Curley, pastor, teacher, counselor

By Father Robert M. O'Grady Pilot Staff
Posted: 9/2/2016

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Father Terence Curley Pilot file photo

Father Terence Curley, a widely published author and expert counselor on matters of grief and loss, died unexpectedly at Massachusetts General Hospital on Aug. 26. He had undergone successful surgery for a knee replacement but suffered coronary problems following the surgery.

Born in Lynn on Aug. 8, 1944, he was one of the seven children of the late Edmund and Eileen (Koen) Curley. He attended St. Mary High School in Lynn before entering the archdiocesan seminaries first at Cardinal O'Connell in Jamaica Plain and then at St. John, Brighton. Archbishop Humberto Medeiros ordained him to the priesthood on May 20, 1972. Between then and him being granted senior priest status on Nov. 26, 2010, he served in archdiocesan parishes either as associate, parochial vicar or pastor: St. Zepherin, Wayland (1972); Sacred Heart, Lynn (1972-1974); Most Holy Redeemer, East Boston (1974-1977); St. John the Evangelist [French] (1977-1982); Our Lady Star of the Sea, Marblehead (1982-1983); Incarnation, Melrose (1983-1987); Immaculate Conception, Salem (1987-1991); Our Lady of Grace, Chelsea (1991-1993); as pastor: St. Susanna, Dedham (1993-2001) and St. Thomas Aquinas, Nahant (2001-2010).

Father Curley also obtained a Doctor in Ministry degree from Boston University. It was during this program of studies that he became interested, trained and very involved in bereavement ministry. Armed with the doctorate and with his own pastoral experience he became a frequently sought lecturer on campus and especially in counseling programs including at Lesley University, Cambridge and Emmanuel College, Boston.

On the more local level he assisted parishes in developing grief and bereavement ministries and outreach programs. He was also a member of the faculty of the archdiocesan Master of Arts in Ministry offered through St. John Seminary.

Author of more than a dozen books, among them "Grief Ministry" (Liturgical Press, 2016); Challenging the Landscape of Loss (Create Space, 2015); and "Planning the Catholic Funeral" (Liturgical Press, 2005); he was also a presenter at workshops in the archdiocese and beyond.

North Regional Bishop Mark O'Connell was to be the principal celebrant of Father Curley's Funeral Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas, Nahant on Sept. 1. Among those who indicated they would be concelebrating were Merrimack Regional Bishop Robert Hennessey; Father James Kelly, present administrator of the Nahant parish; Father Joseph Kane of Regina Cleri, Boston and Father Robert Doherty, senior priest of the archdiocese and a close friend of Father Curley's.

Father Curley's surviving siblings are sisters: Anrita Talbot, Salem; Eileen Clay and Brenda Noyes, both of Maine, and Maura Bostdorf, Nova Scotia and his brother Jerome, Salem. Father Curley was buried in St. Mary Cemetery, Salem.