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Fr. Joseph K. Fagan

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"If He leads you to it, He will lead you through it"

I was ordained to the priesthood on June 7, 1967.  My first assignment was at St. Richard Parish in Danvers.
The pastor, Msgr. John Cusack, was a wonderful mentor and a dedicated priest who taught by example with gentleness and empathy. His empathy for the elderly and concern for the sick influenced me greatly.

In 1970, I joined the Society of St. James the Apostle. After completing language school in Peru, I was sent to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where I took to the challenge of missionary life with vim and vigor. Unfortunately, only halfway through my five-year commitment, I became ill and had to return to Boston where I would spend the next seven years as a Parochial Vicar at Holy Ghost Parish in Whitman.

From 1979 to 1985 I served at St. John Chrysostom Parish in West Roxbury. When my assignment ended in 1985, I went to Rome for a three-month sabbatical. Upon returning from Rome, I was eager to begin a new assignment at Sacred Heart Parish in Quincy. Within weeks, however, I began to experience terrible back pain and at the behest of many doctors, ultimately decided to have surgery. The operation was considered a risk, but I agreed to it because
the pain was unbearable. My prayer was that I would have the grace and courage to live with the consequences.

Thankfully, the operation was a success, but it was a long road to recovery. With grit and determination, I adapted
to certain human limitations. Since then, my mantra has been: “If He leads you to it, He'll lead you through it.”
Ultimately, I was able to return to Sacred Heart with the support and love of the pastor,
an exceptional friend named Fr. Cornelius “Neal” Heery.

In 1993, I left Sacred Heart and began serving as the Parochial Vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish in Stoughton,
a culturally diverse parish with vibrant English and Portuguese-speaking communities. My last parish assignment
was at St. Lucy in Methuen, where I spent only five months. I am convinced the Lordsaved the best for last when
I was asked to be Spiritual Director at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston.

Now I live in retirement with my brother priests at Regina Cleri, a residence for senior priests in Boston and have an
additional mantra—the words high above our chapel altar that greet me every morning as we gather to celebrate
Mass: “Tu es Sacerdos in Aeternum” – You are a Priest Forever.

 

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