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New pastors appointed for Newton, Waltham parishes

By Father Robert M. O'Grady
Posted: 9/30/2005

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Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley has announced the appointments of two new pastors. Father Christopher Coyne was named to Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton effective Sept. 27 and Father Sean McCarthy will be the next pastor at Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted in Waltham on Oct. 15, 2005. Both priests are alumni of St. John Seminary and have been actively involved in liturgical education and formation on various levels — local, state and national.

Father Christopher Coyne

A native son of St. Barbara Parish in Woburn, Father Coyne attended local schools and was graduated from Woburn High School. He attended the University of Massachusetts at Lowell before entering St. John Seminary where he completed formation for ordination. Cardinal Law ordained him to the priesthood at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston June 7, 1986.

After ordination he was assigned as parochial vicar at St. Mary of the Hills Parish in Milton where he served until July 1989. At St. Mary’s his first pastor was Msgr. John Dillon Day, one of the legendary priests of the archdiocese who served as a model and mentor for several generations of priests with whom he served as associate, and for whom he was a guiding hand like Father Coyne.

He was sent to Rome to pursue a graduate degree in liturgy and on completion of his doctoral studies he was awarded the Doctorate in Sacred Liturgy in 1995. On his return to the archdiocese he was appointed to the faculty of St. John Seminary where he has been teaching liturgy, as well as assisting in the formation of liturgical ministers in the regions and parishes of the archdiocese. He also “taught” a course about the liturgy on Boston Catholic Television by visiting various churches of the archdiocese, using art and architecture as well as solid sacramental theology as his syllabus.

Father Coyne became a familiar face across the archdiocese and across the nation when he served as the spokesman for the archdiocese during the final year of Cardinal Law’s service as archbishop; while Bishop Richard Lennon was the apostolic administrator, and during the initial months following Archbishop O’Malley’s appointment as archbishop. During that time he continued to serve as a professor on the faculty of the seminary.

Father Coyne will be returning to the parish where he worked briefly one summer during his seminary formation. Although there have been some notable changes both in the physical plant and the demographics of the parish, he said that he is going “to be a pastor” and that he will commit his energy and considerable talents and gifts to that goal.

Father Sean McCarthy

Born in Boston and living in Brookline at the time of his ordination to the priesthood, Father McCarthy completed his seminary formation at St. John Seminary, and Bernard Cardinal Law ordained him at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on June 22, 1991.

Father McCarthy has been parochial vicar in three parishes of the archdiocese. Immediately following ordination he was assigned to St. Joseph, Belmont. Father McCarthy had already developed a deep sense of the importance of the liturgy, and his love for the church’s prayer life was immediately evident to all. His pastor, Father Bill Burckhart offered both encouragement and support for Father McCarthy’s enthusiastic promotion of greater participation in the prayer life of the parish. In 1992 he was appointed to a three year term on the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission.

His next assignment was to St. Timothy in Norwood where he served as parochial vicar from 1996-1998. In November 1998 he was assigned as parochial vicar at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in Acton.

This Merrimack region parish serves two very large and growing towns, Acton and Boxborough. The parish life is vibrant and seemed a good fit for Father McCarthy’s particular gifts of care for and promotion of the liturgical life of the parish. Once again, his pastor Father Walter Woods saw Father McCarthy’s gifts and incorporated them into the service of the growing needs and desires of his people.

Father McCarthy’s love of the liturgy and his willingness to assist other parishes with liturgical formation is well known. He is also known and respected beyond the borders of the archdiocese by his active membership in the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) and the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC). He is a regular participant and sometimes presenter at annual and regional meetings.

In some ways he is returning to familiar territory, almost back where he started. His Waltham parish is a neighbor, though not bordering, parish to his first assignment at Belmont. At the same time he will see a number of differences, a major one being that this will be the first assignment where he will have a parish school.

The people of Waltham can expect to see a vibrant love of the liturgy, the welcome encouragement to participate fully and actively in the Church’s prayer life and a man with a priestly heart.