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Obituary: Father John Fallon, former VA chaplain

By Father Robert M. O'Grady Pilot Staff
Posted: 11/11/2016

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Father John F.X. Fallon Pilot file photo

Father John F.X. Fallon a Jamaica Plain native died at Tippett Home in Needham on Nov. 5. The only child of the late James and Mary (Kelly) Fallon, he was born in Boston on March 25, 1932 and raised in Jamaica Plain. He attended the parish elementary school at Blessed Sacrament and then Boston College High School, when it was still located in the South End of the city.

He entered the archdiocesan seminaries, first at Cardinal O'Connell, literally in the backyard of the family home in Jamaica Plain and then across the city to St. John, Brighton. With the plethora of seminarians the archdiocese enjoyed at the time, Archbishop Cushing permitted and even encouraged bishops from other dioceses to visit Brighton and invite seminarians to study for other dioceses. Father Fallon took up the invitation and was ordained on Feb. 3, 1958 at Holy Cross Cathedral by Archbishop Cushing, though not for Boston but for the diocese of Savannah.

He returned to the archdiocese in 1961 and was named an assistant at St. Bridget Parish, Abington. Later that year he was appointed assistant at St. James the Greater in Boston's Chinatown section.

In 1964 he moved from parish ministry to hospital chaplaincy, which would be his bailiwick for the remainder of his active priestly ministry. He was appointed chaplain at Cushing Hospital in Framingham (1964-1968) and lived in residence at St. Patrick Rectory, Natick. The hospital had been constructed immediately following World War II as a medical facility for New England servicemen returning from the battlefront. Today we might call it a treatment and rehab center. In 1968 he went to Washington, D.C. as a chaplain intern at St. Elizabeth Hospital, inaugurating his nearly three decade long service as a chaplain at various Veterans' Administration Hospitals in the United States.

He returned to the archdiocese and was an auxiliary chaplain at the Brockton VA Hospital for three years; then as chaplain at the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania VA Hospital before returning to Boston in 1974 as chaplain at the VA Hospital in Jamaica Plain. He was truly "back home." He resided in the rectory of his home parish, Blessed Sacrament during his 20 years as VA chaplain in Jamaica Plain.

He was granted senior priest/retirement status in 1998. He resided variously at Tippett Home, Needham; Regina Cleri, Boston and Elizabeth Seton Residence, Wellesley.

His funeral was to be celebrated on Nov. 12 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church (Mission Church Basilica) in Roxbury, the church closest to what would have been his home parish, Blessed Sacrament, now closed. Father George Emerson of Regina Cleri, Boston was to be the homilist. Following the funeral Mass, Father Fallon was buried in New Calvary Cemetery in Roslindale.