When rumors began circulating that longtime parish pastor of St. Francis de Sales, Father Dan Mahoney, was being forced into retirement by the Boston Archdiocese, the community sprang into action unable to accept a Charlestown without him.
Those who know and love “Father Dan,” as he’s affectionately known in the community, were shocked by the news.
A group of residents have organized a standout in front of St. Francis scheduled for Thursday (tonight), May 26 at 6 pm.
“Let’s show our support and stand with Father Mahoney,” read the flier. “Spread the word to family and friends, make signs and let’s show Father Dan how much we love and appreciate him.”
Father Dan is a legend in the Charlestown community and has not only served as St. Francis’s parish priest for over five decades but as the Boston Fire Department’s chaplain. He is only the eighth pastor of the oldest Boston Catholic Church’s 160 year history.
“Father Dan’s legendary service to the Charlestown community, the Boston Archdiocese and the Boston Fire Department cannot be understated,” said Rep. Dan Ryan. “As a former altar-boy, a St. Francis graduate and the son of a firefighter, Fr. Mahoney has personally impacted my life in numerous ways. My family thanks him from the bottom of their hearts for being there for so many memorable moments through the years.”
At the church’s 160th anniversary in 2019 Father Dan reiterated that the Church is the official firefighter’s church in the Archdiocese, named so by the late Cardinal Cushing in 1959 as a way of honoring the numerous firefighters that came from Charlestown and were a part of the Parish. As part of his duties as BFD’s chaplain, Father Dan has had to notify 68 families of firefighters that died in the line of duty over the years, a job he once said never got easier.
Carolyn Wrenn Shannon said Father Dan has married three generations of her family.
“The church at the “Top of Bunkerhill “gave me strength on my most difficult days and joy on the happiest of days,” said Shannon. “Fr. Mahoney, I could never express how important you were to me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Jacqueline Sheehan added, “Fr Mahoney, I will forever be grateful to you for all you’ve done for me and my family. You have touched so many in so many ways.”