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Obituary: Msgr. Paul J. McManus, Boston's oldest priest dies at 100


Msgr. Paul J. McManus Pilot file photo

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When Paul J. McManus was born in Boston on June 6, 1916, the youngest of the three sons of the late Patrick and Mary (Donnelly) McManus, Benedict XV was the pope; Woodrow Wilson was the US President; Tsar Nicholas II was still on his Russian throne; the VI Olympic games were cancelled because of the outbreak of the "Great War" later World War I; and William Cardinal O'Connell was reigning as archbishop of Boston.

The family lived in St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Jamaica Plain, where the boys attended the parish elementary school before going on to Boston College High School, then in the South End. Paul was a member of the class of 1933. He went out to Chestnut Hill and was graduated from Boston College in the class of 1937. The family moved to St. Theresa of Avila Parish in West Roxbury and Paul entered St. John's Seminary, following in the steps of his oldest brother James, who had been ordained to the priesthood on May 22, 1935 by Cardinal O'Connell. Their middle brother, John following the same early educational track through college went on to medical school and became a doctor.

Following his ordination by auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Cushing at Holy Cross Cathedral on May 1, 1942, Father McManus was appointed an assistant at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Westwood. His appointment letter was signed by William Cardinal O'Connell, then Boston's archbishop. Msgr. McManus was the last surviving priest ordained during the episcopate of Cardinal O'Connell.

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