Father Vincent Von Euw named senior priest

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap. has announced that he has ended the assignment of Father Vincent P. Von Euw as pastor of St. Ambrose Parish in Boston’s Dorchester section and has also granted him senior priest/retirement status. The cardinal determined that this would be effective Feb. 1, 2008.

Father Von Euw is a Boston native, born in the Hub on Christmas Day, 1936. His late parents were Charles and Helen Von Euw and he was a son of Holy Name Parish in the city’s West Roxbury section. He grew up in Holy Name Parish and after attending archdiocesan seminaries he was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Richard Cushing on May 26, 1966.

He was named assistant at St. Mary Parish, Plymouth following ordination; and associate at Immaculate Conception Parish in Salem in 1971.

On Feb. 11, 1973 Cardinal-designate Humberto Medeiros granted him permission to enter the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle for service to the churches in South America. He remained with the society for the following 12 years serving in South America’s faith-rich, but priest poor and in many cases economically destitute areas.

On his return to the archdiocese in 1985 Cardinal Law named him parochial vicar at St. Peter Parish, Dorchester and in March 1991 he was named pastor at one of St. Peter’s “daughter parishes” -- St. Ambrose.

A man of deep faith and great energy and greater enthusiasm, Father Von Euw served a parish that changed rapidly; he was especially effective with newly arriving Hispanics and generous in welcoming the large Vietnamese Catholic population that had been growing in the city’s Fields Corner section.

In the fall of 2000 he was granted a sabbatical period and participated in the priestly renewal program at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. The college was familiar to Father Von Euw as an older brother, also a priest of the archdiocese, Father Charles Von Euw had studied there in the ’50s. According to Father Michael Donohue, a priest of the Diocese of Norwich, Connecticut who was in the same renewal program, “Vinny was great. He loved being in Rome and made sure he got to see the city and its treasures as well as sights outside the city.”

Father Von Euw is not shy about sharing his emotions and even the most demure and retiring priest of the archdiocese has been grasped in his warm embrace -- figuratively and literally.

Last fall he experienced a series of strokes and has been hospitalized or confined to various health care facilities since. He had already expressed a desire to leave parish administration, but not parish ministry -- perhaps serving in parishes in need of temporary help especially those where facility with the Spanish language would be necessary.

Father Von Euw continues his recuperation and it is a slow and arduous process. The prayers of his people in Dorchester as well as those of the many admiring priests of the archdiocese for a great missionary -- home and away -- are with him and his family.