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Bishop Francis Irwin, Boston auxiliary, dies


Bishop Francis X. Irwin

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Retired Auxiliary Bishop Francis X. Irwin passed away at the age of 85 on Oct. 30 after a brief illness, surrounded by his family in his Cape Cod home.

A native of Medford, Bishop Irwin attended St. Joseph Catholic School, Boston College High School, Boston College, and St. John Seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1960.

After briefly serving at St. Joseph Parish in Roxbury, Bishop Irwin was assigned to St. Mary Parish in Revere for two years and then at St. Patrick Parish in Lawrence for six years. He served at St. Camillus Parish in Arlington from 1968 to 1970 while earning his master's degree in social work from Boston College.

In 1970 Bishop Irwin began working for Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Boston, where he continued for almost 20 years. He served as the archdiocese's secretary of social services from 1985 to 1993. He was the pastor of St. Susanna Parish in Dedham 1991-1993 and pastor of St. Agnes in Arlington 1993-1996.

He was ordained an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston and titular bishop of Ubaza in 1996. He chose the motto "To live in joyful hope."

In 2009 Bishop Irwin resigned as auxiliary bishop, having reached the mandatory age of retirement. He returned to his home in Cape Cod and celebrated weekly Mass at St. Pius X in Yarmouth. He celebrated his last Mass there in September.

Bishop Irwin will lie in state at St. Raphael Church in West Medford on Nov. 1 from 4 to 7 p.m. Cardinal Seán O'Malley will celebrate his funeral at St. Raphael Church on Nov. 2. He will be interred at St. Paul Cemetery in Arlington.

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