BY PAUL LEIGHTON
---- — BEVERLY — Cardinal Sean O’Malley has named the Rev. Mark Mahoney as pastor of the city’s three Catholic churches, one of the first appointments under the Archdiocese of Boston’s sweeping reorganization plan.
Mahoney, who has been the pastor at St. Rose of Lima in Topsfield since 2007, will head the new collaborative in Beverly that includes St. Mary’s, St. John’s and St. Margaret’s churches.
The collaboratives are being formed under a pastoral plan, announced in January, that organizes groups of churches under a single pastor. Mahoney is among the first of four pastors named to lead a collaborative.
“The archdiocese has great trust in his pastoral approach and leadership qualities and experience,” archdiocese spokesman Terrence Donilon said. “We have great confidence in his ability to lead the collaborative, understanding the important role the parishioners and staff must play in successfully implementing Phase One.”
Mahoney is vacationing and could not be reached for comment. He is scheduled to start in Beverly on June 4.
The archdiocese plans to organize its 288 parishes into approximately 135 collaboratives over the next five years in hopes of revitalizing the church by sharing resources. The collaboratives will have one pastor, a pastoral staff team, a parish council and a finance committee.
As part of Phase One, Cardinal Sean O’Malley announced in January the formation of the first 12 collaboratives, including ones in Beverly, Salem, Lynn and Lynnfield. The pastors for the other communities have not yet been named.
Donilon said the pastors chosen for Phase One will be “critical to the success of the mission.”
“Pastoral planning is one of the most important initiatives undertaken by the archdiocese in its more than 200-year history,” he said. “It will require the collaboration of many people in the months and years ahead.”
Mahoney will take over in Beverly for the Rev. David Barnes, who is the pastor at St. Mary’s and administrator for St. Margaret’s, and Monsignor William Cuddy, the administrator at St. John’s. Donilon said no decisions have been made on their next assignments.
Barnes, who has been at St. Mary’s since 2000 and was named priest of the year at the 2007 Boston Men’s Catholic Conference, said he is “deeply grateful” for his years in Beverly.
“St. Paul once referred to his people as his ‘crown and joy,’” he said. “When I look at the people here, I know exactly what St. Paul meant. They are my crown and my joy.”
Mahoney is a native of Needham and a graduate of Xaverian Brothers High School and St. John’s Seminary College. He has served at parishes in Wakefield, Holliston, West Roxbury and Lincoln, as well as at St. Rose of Lima in Topsfield.
He has a degree in canon law from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and once served as head of the Archdiocese of Boston’s Metropolitan Tribunal, the court that handles church legal cases, mostly concerning marriage annulments.
Donilon said no decision has been made on who will replace Mahoney in Topsfield. Mahoney said in the latest church newsletter that St. Rose will establish a collaborative with St. Agnes in Middleton.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or email@example.com.