It is with a heavy heart that I write about Father Joseph McGlone, a retired Catholic priest from the Boston area, who passed away earlier this year. I just found about this news by chance when I was performing some Web searches. Allow me to take a diversion from my usual writing to remember a great man and leader.
Fr. Joe, as he was known to everyone, was the pastor of Corpus Christi Church in the village of Auburndale in Newton, Massachusetts. He was there for over 30 years, which is rare for a priest. I was fortunate to have been a member of Corpus Christi when I lived in the Boston area and was honored to have had him marry me and my lovely wife several years ago.
Fr. Joe had a unique appeal; unlike many priests this good Catholic boy had known over the years. He was very real and down to earth. He welcomed you into his church and made you feel at home. He prayed for the issues that many other priests would jam down your throat! As a result, Fr. Joe made Corpus Christi a truly welcoming church, and it certainly wasn’t a chore to go to his church every week. This is not to say Fr. Joe was not assertive or a leader. Even when he used his great sense of humor, he was making a point. There was a period of time I had not been regularly going to church. When I did finally start going back, one week I brought my family with me and he made sure I knew I hadn’t been there and how much I missed and how much I was missed. He jokingly let me had it, all the while welcoming me back.
As the sex abuse scandal was exposed in the Archdiocese of Boston, it took its toll on everyone, including Fr. Joe. When the Archdiocese announced that churches would be closed, he pointed this out one week in his sermon that church expenses weren’t being met my offerings and this was not a good sign for Corpus Christi. This must have been tough for him to say as he never asked for money. But the next week, offerings nearly doubled and maintained that level. I also remember asking Fr. Joe how he was doing throughout the scandal, especially as many of those priests were in surrounding towns. His response was, “I am a woodcutter.” When I asked him to explain, he said if anyone asked him what he did for a living, he would say he is a woodcutter and not a priest. That was on par with his style.
At the time of the almost heartless church closings taking place in the Archdiocese of Boston, Fr. Joe was asked to retire, to which he refused. Everyone was ecstatic he stood his ground! Here was a new archbishop coming in from out of town and wanting what was right about the church to leave? A few years later, after I had moved form the Boston area and Corpus Christi had merged with another church, he was asked again to retire and did. Though I cannot speak directly to the circumstances after I was away, I did hear he remained active in the church close to his hometown where he was a member after retirement, and I am sure they were fortunate to have him.
Right before I moved to Chicago, I lectured one last time at Corpus Christi and Fr. Joe was the presiding priest at the mass. At its conclusion he surprised me by announcing to the congregation that both my wife and I were leaving for a city where he had once studied once in his career at Loyola University. His thoughts were touching as he recalled our wedding and wished us well. That was one of the last times I saw Fr. Joe and a great memory of a great man, along with the many others I have of him from over the years.
Rest in peace, Fr. Joe.Announcements • Diversions • (2) Comments • Permalink
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