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Obituary: Father Richard Driscoll, former pastor in Topsfield


Father Richard A. Driscoll Pilot file photo

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Merrimack Regional Bishop Robert F. Hennessey was the principal celebrant of the funeral Mass of Father Richard A. Driscoll at St. Rose of Lima Church, Topsfield on April 28. Father Driscoll had directed the fund raising and construction of the church while he was pastor there from 1986-1999.

Raised in St. Joseph Parish in Medford, he was born on Nov. 13, 1924, the eldest of the three sons of the late Walter and Anne (Shepherd) Driscoll. He was an alumnus of the parish grammar school and Boston College High School. After high school, he enlisted in the US Army and served at Fort Devens and in the Pacific in New Caledonia, New Hebrides, The Philippines and Japan. When he returned home he attended Boston College and then St. John's Seminary.

Archbishop Richard Cushing ordained him to the priesthood at Holy Cross Cathedral on Feb. 2, 1955. Following ordination he served in archdiocesan assignments, most of which were on the North Shore; Our Lady of Good Voyage (Portuguese), Gloucester (1955-1960); St. Mary Star of the Sea, East Boston (1960-1963); Immaculate Conception, Salem (1963-1972); St. Patrick, Stoneham (1972-1976); Salem Hospital, Chaplain (1976-1984); in residence St. James, Salem (1976-1981); and St. Anne (French) 1981-1984.

Archbishop Bernard Law named him administrator of St. Rose of Lima Parish, Topsfield in 1984; and Cardinal Law named him pastor of the parish in 1986. With the rapid growth in Catholic population in Topsfield, the parish needed new and larger facilities and Father Driscoll directed that effort to successful completion.

He retired as pastor in 1999, but continued to serve in area parishes, among them St. Margaret, Beverly and St. Agnes, Middleton.

He died at the VA Hospital in Bedford on April 24. The homilist at the funeral Mass was Father James Riley, senior priest of the archdiocese; among those concelebrating the funeral Mass were Fathers Thomas W. Buckley, seminary classmate; Mark Mahoney former pastor of St. Rose; and the parish's present pastor, Father Michael Medas.

Father Driscoll was predeceased by his two brothers, Robert and Father Walter Driscoll, '57 who died in 2002. Following the funeral Mass, Father Driscoll was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery, Topsfield.

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