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Obituary: Msgr. James E. Tierney, tribunal official, pastor and Regina Cleri director


Msgr. James E. Tierney Pilot file photo

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Esteemed by priests, loved by parishioners and admired by his collaborators over the years, Msgr. James E. Tierney died at Regina Cleri on Sept. 2, 2017. He was 92.

The middle child of the late John and Ethel (Duffy) Tierney, he was born in Chelsea on April 29, 1925; the family moved to Melrose and Jim and his siblings John and Helen were raised in St. Mary of the Annunciation Parish. He attended local public schools and was graduated from Melrose High in 1943. He entered the seminary at Brighton and was ordained at Holy Cross Cathedral on May 3, 1950 by Archbishop Richard Cushing.

His first assignment was at an assistant at St. Joseph, Kingston. Just 18 months later he was assigned to the staff of the metropolitan tribunal where he would serve "without a degree in canon law" as he would jauntily remind you, for 22 years. During those years he lived in residence at several parishes: St. Lawrence, Brookline (1951-1952); St. John the Evangelist, Wellesley (1952-1954); Our Lady Help of Christians, Newton (1954-1970) and lastly with the Xaverian Brothers as their chaplain in Malden (1970-1973). For most of his years at the tribunal his boss as head of the tribunal was the late Bishop Eric F. MacKenzie, auxiliary of the archdiocese and officialis (now called judicial vicar); he delighted in relating stories of the bishops of whom he was clearly fond.

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