Bishop Francis X. Irwin

Bishop Francis X. Irwin

January 9th, 1934 October 30th, 2019

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Obituary for Bishop Francis X. Irwin

Francis X Irwin, retired Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston, died after a brief illness on October 30, 2019 at his home on Cape Cod surrounded by his loving family. He was 85 years old.

Bishop Irwin grew up in Medford where he attended St Joseph’s Catholic School. He went on to graduate from Boston College High School, Boston College and St John’s Seminary in Brighton. He was ordained a Catholic priest on February 2, 1960. During his early priesthood, he served at St Joseph’s parish in Roxbury, St Mary’s of the Assumption in Revere and St Patrick’s in Lawrence. He also served at St Camillus Church in Arlington, while earning his Master’s Degree in Social Work from Boston College.

In 1970, Francis went on to work for Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Boston working there nearly 20 years. As Secretary of Social Services for the Archdiocese, then Father Irwin brought many families together through adoption and was also instrumental in the founding of the Sister Zita Fleming Office of AIDS Ministry and the Nazareth Residence both dedicated to serving men, women and children living with HIV and AIDS. After his time at Catholic Charities, the Bishop went on to serve as pastor of St Susanna’s in Dedham. His final post prior to be being ordained Bishop was pastor of St Agnes parish in Arlington, where he made many new friends while overseeing the operations of St Agnes Elementary School and Arlington Catholic High School.

On September 17, 1996, Bishop Irwin was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston and the Titular Bishop of Ubaza. “To Live in Joyful Hope” was his chosen motto as Bishop, and he did just that everyday.

While his duties as Bishop removed him from the day to day involvement of parish work, he continued his pastoral duties as often as possible, continuing to minister to former parishioners through weddings, baptisms and funerals among other celebrations of faith. Upon reaching the age of mandatory retirement in 2009, Bishop Irwin tendered his resignation as Auxiliary Bishop. Retirement brought the Bishop to his beloved home on Cape Cod where he returned to parish work saying weekly mass at St Pius X, Yarmouth. Bishop Irwin said his last mass at St Pius this September.

Bishop Irwin is survived by his brother Eugene and his wife Anne of Dennis, and sister Peggy and her husband Richard Callahan of Randolph. He was predeceased by his brothers John and Robert and sisters Mary and Joan (Curran) and his loyal dog “Bama”. He will be missed by his sixteen nieces and nephews to whom he was affectionately known as “Uncle Frank”, and many great nieces and nephews. The Bishop also leaves behind his devoted caregiver Cassie White.

Bishop Irwin will lie in state at St. Raphael’s Church, 512 High Street West Medford on Friday November 1, 2019 from 4pm to 7pm. His funeral mass will be celebrated 11 am on Saturday, November 2, 2019 by Cardinal Sean O’Malley at St Raphael’s Church. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in his memory to the Francis X. Irwin Class of 1952 Scholarship Fund c/o BC High, 150 Morrissey Blvd., Dorchester MA 02125. For online condolences or directions please visit www.keefefuneralhome

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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday, November 1st, 2019 | 4:00pm - 7:00pm
    Saint Raphael Church
    512 High Street
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Friday, November 1st, 2019
    4:00pm - 7:00pm
  • Funeral Mass

    Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 | 11:00am
    Saint Raphael Church
    512 High Street
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Saturday, November 2nd, 2019
    Cardinal Sean O'Malley
  • Interment

    Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 |
    Saint Paul's Cemetery
    Arlington, Massachusetts
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Saturday, November 2nd, 2019

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Beth Tordella

Frank was one of my cousins. He visited me in Washington DC often when we were young. His mom is related to my grandma.
Frank was always full of life, He was a vigorous man. Last time I spoke with him was just after his leg was amputated and he was still glad and joyful.
He took me to dinner on the the 200th anniversary of Boston becoming a diocese. I think that was in 2008. He was a kind and generous host.
I was devoted to his mom and he liked that.
Always a gentleman, always thoughtful
Comment | Posted at 08:44pm via Condolence

Alan M. Chetson, Jr.

The Chetson Family,
Thank You Bishop Irwin for the friendship you showed my parents while at St. Patrick's and for the years after sharing dinners with them at our home with your friends/parishioners, until calling our house this past few months with condolences for the passing of my mom in June and then dad in the end of Sept. I had no clue you'd be taken just a month later.
I know you'll all be seeing each other in Heaven.
Comment | Posted at 04:24am via Condolence

Sr. Marie Puleo mfic

I had the pleasure of working for Bishop Irwin in the North Region. He was a compassionate and pastoral leader. I will always remember his hearty laugh and sense of humor. Rest In Peace Frank. Pace e bene.
Marie Puleo MFIC
Comment | Posted at 11:57am via Condolence

Sheila Lane

A great loss to us all. A wonderful friend, caring and dedicated priest. He will be so missed by all!
Comment | Posted at 06:24pm via Condolence

Lorraine Peavey

He will be missed by all, May he rest in peace
Comment | Posted at 05:47am via Condolence

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