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O'Connor appointed archdiocesan general counsel


Francis J. O'Connor Pilot file photo

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The archdiocese announced July 3 that Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley has appointed Francis J. O'Connor as general counsel of the Archdiocese of Boston. Previously having served as assistant general counsel, O'Connr succeeds the late F. Beirne Lovely who passed away on June 7.

"Fran O'Connor is an experienced attorney who is respected across the archdiocese and within the legal community," said Cardinal O'Malley.

"I have worked closely with Fran over the past 11 years as he has served as assistant general counsel and I appreciate his sound judgment and commitment to the mission of the Church. He brings a sense of fairness and decency to the position as well as provides wise counsel across a wide spectrum of issues. We are grateful for his willingness to undertake this demanding and important leadership position in the Archdiocese of Boston," the cardinal added.

O'Connor said, "I am honored by the confidence Cardinal Seán has shown in me by offering me this opportunity to continue serving the Church."

"I look forward to working with and in support of our parishes, schools, and ministries. Getting to know and advise our priests these past many years has provided me a unique perspective and great appreciation for the essential ministry they provide to the people of God. We are a blessed Church and I am proud to serve Cardinal Seán and the Archdiocese of Boston," added O'Connor.

In his new position, O'Connor will serve on the cardinal's cabinet and as an in-house general counsel for the Archdiocese of Boston. The duties of the general counsel include executing contracts and real estate transactions and overseeing litigation, implementing policies that require legal oversight, as well as advising the cardinal and senior leadership. The general counsel's office works with the entire archdiocesan community, including clergy, religious, parishes, schools and laity, to assist in meeting their needs. Issues related to clergy sexual abuse will continue under the oversight of Attorney Mark Dunderdale, director of professional standards and oversight.

A graduate of Marquette University and Suffolk University Law School, O'Connor joined the archdiocese in 2009 as assistant general counsel. He previously practiced law with the Rogers Law Firm. He has served as a board member of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners since 2018.

Both the cardinal and O'Connor acknowledged the long and distinguished service Lovely provided to the archdiocese.

Cardinal O'Malley said, "Beirne loved the Church. He cared deeply for our priests and the people of the archdiocese. He was a man of great integrity who willingly shared his expertise and knowledge in addressing the many challenging issues facing the Church. He will be missed."

O'Connor said, "Beirne was a mentor to me and a friend. I learned much during our time working together. He and his wife, Joan, and their family will remain in my prayers always."

O'Connor and his wife, Toni-Ann, reside in Hanover. They are the parents of two girls: Collette, who is in her second year of medical school and Paige, who is entering her senior year in college.

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