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Obituary: Father Edward McMahon one time pastor in Billerica

By Father Robert M. O’Grady
Posted: 12/5/2008

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Father Edward M. McMahon Pilot file photo


Cardinal Seán O’Malley was scheduled to be the principal celebrant of the Funeral Mass Dec. 5 at St. Mary Church, Billerica for Father Edward M. McMahon, a senior priest of the archdiocese who died in Boston on Dec. 1. He was 74 years old. He had previously served the Billerica parish as its pastor.

A Cambridge native he was an alumnus of Blessed John XXIII Seminary in Weston. Then Boston auxiliary Bishop Daniel A. Cronin ordained Father McMahon to the priesthood at the Chapel of Blessed John Seminary on May 2, 1970.

Following ordination he served as an associate or as a parochial vicar in four archdiocesan parishes: St. Catherine of Alexandria, Westford (1970-1976); St. William, Dorchester (1976-1979); Immaculate Conception, Cambridge (1979-1983); and St. Barbara, Woburn (1983-1989).

Cardinal Bernard Law named him pastor of St. Mary Parish, Billerica in October 1989 and he was granted senior priest/retirement status almost ten years later in August 1999. Among the many comments made about this good priest, who was quiet and reserved, was about the care he took of his elderly mother who died only a few years ago well into her 90s.

Father McMahon had been ill for the past year suffering from cancer. Father Jim McCune observed that his conditioned deteriorated rapidly over the past several weeks and that he was suffering greatly in the last weeks. His death was in many ways a relief, surely not to his family and friends, but surely for Father McMahon.

Joining Cardinal O’Malley concelebrating Father McMahon’s Funeral Mass were the homilist, Father Laurence O’Toole, SJ, a friend and longtime collaborator with Father McMahon in Billerica; St. Mary’s current pastor, Father Francis E. Sullivan; Regina Cleri Director, Msgr. James Tierney; Father James McCune, Director of the Office for Senior Priests and archdiocesan vicar general, Father Richard Erikson. Following the Funeral Mass, Father McMahon was buried in St. Mary Cemetery, Tewksbury.

His immediate survivors are his two sisters Teresa McGivern, Windham, N.H. and Margaret Armellino, New York.