Father Francis J. Daly retires from Sharon parish

Read Special Section

Father Francis J. Daly, who has been serving as pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, Sharon, since June 2017, was granted senior priest retirement status on June 1, 2022. He will reside in his own home.

He was born Nov. 23, 1942. The Boston native is a son of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Allston, where he attended the parish grammar school. He is one of the four children of the late Jeremiah and Bridget (O'Mahony) Daly; his siblings are twin sisters Marie and Catherine Daly, Boston; and the late Michael.

An alumnus of the Boston Public Latin School, St. John Seminary, and the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he studied while residing at the Pontifical North American College, Rome, he was ordained to the priesthood at St. Peter's Basilica by the then-rector of the college, Bishop Francis F. Reh.

On his return to the archdiocese, he was appointed an assistant at St. Mary, Dedham (1968-1972) and Our Lady of Fatima, Sudbury (1972-1975); he served for a short time in campus ministry in the campuses in the Fenway area and was in residence at Sacred Heart, Lexington.

As happened with many priests, Father Daly was questioning all kinds of things about his life, his vocation, and the Church. He ultimately left the priesthood, received a dispensation, and was able to marry Janice Gould (a former Sister of St. Joseph), whom he had met in Dedham. They were the parents of two children: Meghan Murphy of Mansfield, married to Michael, and are the proud parents of children Dylan and Madison; and son, Christopher, an Army adolescent physician who lives in Colorado, who with his wife Joanna are the parents of three sons: Declan, Graham, and Owen. Father Daly was thus another kind of father and later grandfather. His wife Janice died in 2015, having suffered a debilitating stroke in 2003. Francis was her primary caregiver for a dozen years prior to her death.

Just as it had so many years ago, the tug of the priesthood pulled at him again. He began a period of formation or better ''new formation'' for re-entering the active priestly ministry, spending time in prayer and study at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary, Weston.

On the occasion of his 74th birthday, Cardinal O'Malley informed him that his petition to return to priestly ministry had been granted by the Holy See. He served for six months at Gate of Heaven and St. Brigid Parishes in South Boston as a parochial vicar. He was received well at the parish not least because of his homilies, which were brief and well prepared. Apparently, a parishioner welcomed him in typical straightforward Southie style, adding to the welcome a reminder that "we like short homilies"; with quick Irish wit he responded, "I've sat through lots of them and I 'like them short, too'."

In June of 2017, he was named pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Sharon and the parish and Francis took to each other immediately. He had the temporary and occasional help of the late Father George C. (Gerry) Hogan, the nationally known and loved "Circus Priest." Father Hogan served briefly while Father Daly underwent successful heart surgery in 2019.

He retired from pastor's duties at Sharon on June 1, 2022. He will live in his own home in Duxbury and will be helping at his first assignments as a new priest (second time around), Gate of Heaven and St. Brigid, South Boston. Father Daly, remember: short!