Father John DiFruscio, Lawrence native, dies after lengthy illness

A priest of the archdiocese since his ordination on May 21, 1969 at the hands of the late Richard Cardinal Cushing, Father John A. DiFruscio died after protracted illness on Nov. 19 in Braintree. He had celebrated his 66th birthday just two months ago.

The only child of the late John and Margaret (Motherway) DiFruscio, John Anthony was born in Lawrence on Sept. 27, 1942. On completion of grammar and high school he entered Merrimack College in neighboring North Andover and graduated from the Augustinian staffed school with a degree in biology.

He entered St. John’s Seminary and on completion of seminary studies was ordained for the Archdiocese of Boston.

In the first 18 months of his priestly ministry he had three assignments as an assistant; those assignments were St. John the Baptist, Peabody, Sacred Heart, Manchester by the Sea and Immaculate Conception, Cambridge.

In January 1971 he was granted a sick leave, a status on which he remained until 1998 when he was granted permanent disability status, remaining in that status until Dec. 1, 2007 when he was granted senior priest retirement status.

Although his health was precarious he was able to undertake self funded study in the Eternal City when he went to pursue those studies for a period beginning in 1972.

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley was the principal celebrant of his funeral Mass on Nov. 24 at St. Thomas More Church, Braintree. Homilist was his classmate and close friend, Father William G. Williams, pastor of St. Mary Parish, Dedham.

Joining the cardinal and Father Williams as concelebrants were Msgr. Joseph Alves, Regina Cleri, Boston; Very Rev. James Barry, Our Lady of Grace, Chelsea; Father Wallace Blackwood of St. John the Baptsit, Essex and of one of Father DiFruscio’s previous assignments, Sacred Heart, Manchester by the Sea; Father Robert Doherty, Wilmington; Father Nicholas Driscoll, Carver; Cardinal O’Malley’s secretary, Father Robert Kickham; Father James McCune, Director of the Office for Senior Priests; Father William McLaughlin, St. John the Evangelist, Beverly; Father Michael McNamara, Scituate and Father Joseph White, St. Vincent de Paul, South Boston.

Following his funeral Mass Father DiFruscio was buried in St. Mary Immaculate Conception Cemetery, Lawrence.