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Boston fire department chaplain retires after 60 years, honored by community


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“Everyone is amazed at the time Father Dan has spent in the fire department.”

Reverend Dan Mahoney, speaks to his parishioners at St. Francis de Sales, as he celebrates his final mass before retiring after serving as Boston Fire Department chaplain since 1964. Josh Reynolds/Boston Globe

After 60 years of assisting community members, firefighters and civilians, the Reverend Daniel J. Mahoney is stepping down as chaplain of the Boston Fire Department.

Mahoney, 92, was honored with a Mass of Thanksgiving on Sunday afternoon. He has worked for the ministry since 1964, according to The Boston Globe.

Boston fire department chaplain retires after 60 years, honored by community
A pair of ladder trucks hold a flag honoring Reverend Dan Mahoney in St. Francis de Sales. Josh Reynolds/The Boston Globe

During this time, Mahoney rescued sacred scrolls from a burning temple, acted as the department’s “spiritual guardian” according to Boston Fire Commissioner John Dempsey, and fought anti-Semitism. He was recognized for this effort by the Anti-Defamation League in 2006.

“Everyone is amazed at the time Father Dan has dedicated to the fire department,” Dempsey said.

Boston fire department chaplain retires after 60 years, honored by community
Reverend Dan Mahoney, left, is thanked by Fire Commissioner John Dempsey. Josh Reynolds/The Boston Globe

Mahoney also served as pastor of St. Francis de Sales Church.

Before his time with the Boston Fire Department began, Mahoney displayed extreme courage in the face of danger.

In 1959, Mahoney witnessed saving a young man from a house fire. This witness would later be a Massachusetts State Police trooper.

In August 1982, Mahoney again showed his deep devotion when he risked his own life during a fire at Temple Tifereth Israel in Everett. The Boston Globe reported that Mahoney was one of the few people, including another fire department chaplain, who chose to go inside the building in an attempt to find and rescue several sacred scrolls.

In the process, as they managed to squeeze a few out of the window, the roof collapsed, leaving Mahoney crawling out of the structure.

Mahoney’s influence on generations of local firefighters was not lost on Dempsey.

“He’s a friend to a lot of guys. He’s one of us,” Dempsey said.

Boston fire department chaplain retires after 60 years, honored by community
Reverend Dan Mahoney, sits at the head of a line of well-wishers after celebrating his last mass. Josh Reynolds/The Boston Globe



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