Longest-serving pastor in Boston

Longest-serving pastor in Boston

Now that’s a life of priestly service. At 87 years old, after 62 years as a priest and 40 years as a pastor, Father Simeon Saulenas has retired. Which really only means that he no longer has to be concerned with the minutiae of running a parish, but can be concerned with the beauty of priestly ministry. After all, a priest can no more “retire” than a mother or father can. The kids will grow up and move out (we hope), but the parents remain parents. Same with a priest.

Father Saulenas was born just over the Brockton line in Abington on April 19, 1919. He attended St. John Seminary and was ordained at Holy Name Church on Aug. 10, 1944. He was ordained just a month before Auxiliary Bishop Richard Cushing, then serving as administrator of the archdiocese, was named Boston’s sixth bishop and third archbishop in September of that same year.

For all but a year-and-a-half of his almost 62 years of active priestly ministry, Father Saulenas served in Lithuanian personal parishes of the archdiocese.

In the seminary, Cardinal O’Connell was his archbishop and he has served under Cardinals Cushing, Medeiros, Law and O’Malley. He has seen all but two or three of the archdiocese’s 31 auxiliary bishops and has been among hundreds of priests and women religious and many permanent deacons.

... As with most priests his real impact has been the Masses he has celebrated, the homilies preached, the consolation offered at funerals, the joys of baptisms and marriages, and the hours in catechetical formation — formal and informal.

Father Saulenas also saw the change in the Lithuanian population of the archdiocese. The great influx of immigrants into the large urban areas of the archdiocese has dispersed further into the suburbs. The once crowded Lithuanian personal parishes are now more sparsely attended as the children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren of those immigrants have moved into the great mosaic of American life.

“Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.” (Matt. 25:21)

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