Reverend John Kilmartin, F.D.P., a man credited with awaking a parish that was sleepily heading into extinction, has died. Rev. Kilmartin, pastor of St. Joseph-St. Lazarus Church in East Boston passed away on Saturday, April 17 following a brief illness. He was 50 years old.
Ten years ago Rev. Kilmartin came to St. Joseph-St. Lazarus Church and found a parish in need of life. His youth and passion for the parish was unmatched and he was the man many say began a rebirth at the parish that had seen its school close, convent vacated and mass participation dwindle dramatically.
Rev. Kilmartin’s dedication to the church and his parishioners was evident in an increase of church activities and participation by decades end.
So it was no surprise that when he suffered a major heart attack last month, parishioners came out by the hundreds to hold a vigil for their beloved and compassionate Parish Priest.
Bishop Robert Hennessey oversaw that vigil Mass that included songs, readings, stories and a touching homily from Bishop Hennessey about his friend and fellow clergyman.
For many, words cannot describe the loss of one of East Boston’s most beloved Parish Priests.
Rev. Kilmartin was born in Scotland on February 1,1960. He studied in England, Ireland and Rome and was ordained a Don Orione Father in June 1986 in his native parish in England.
In 1987 he was assigned to be a Rector of the Madonna Queen of the Universe National Shrine in East Boston.
Then, in November 2000, Rev. Kilmartin was installed as pastor of St. Joseph-St. Lazarus Church where he served with dedication and devotion.
He has also served as a Consulate of Missionary Delegation Mother of the Church and for many years as the Chaplain for the House of Correction in Sharon and Middleton.
Rev. Kilmartin was the son of Hannah “Ann” (Smillie) Kilmartin and the late William Kilmartin of England; Brother of Clive Kilmartin of England and the late Michael Kilmartin and his wife, Tracey, and their daughter Lisa of England.
A Funeral Mass with his Excellency Bishop Robert F Hennessey will be celebrated on Saturday, April 24 at 11:00 a.m. in St. Joseph-St. Lazarus Church.
Visiting Hours will be held in the Church on Friday April 23 from 3-8 p.m.
Memorial Donation may be made to his adored St. Joseph- St. Lazarus Parish.