Assignment Record– Rev. Joseph F. Byrne

Summary of Case: Joseph F. Byrne was ordained for the Boston archdiocese in 1969. He assisted at parishes in Dorchester, Quincy and Weymouth MA until he was named pastor of a parish in Waltham in 1994. Among his many involvements were the Archdiocesan Office of Vocations, Project Rachel, and the Office of Spiritual Development. He was also a police and hospital chaplain in Quincy for 10 years. From 2002-2008 Byrne's status was "unassigned." He pleaded guilty in 2005 to embezzling more than $135,000 from his Waltham parish and was sentenced to 5 years' probation. Despite being unassigned, Byrne reportedly moved to Falmouth MA in 2003 where he helped out as a fill-in at a parish. He also lived for a time in 2012-2013 at a parish in Arlington MA. In May 2012 Byrne was placed on leave after an allegation emerged that he sexually abused a child in the early 1970s. He was reinstated in May 2013 after the archdiocese found the allegation to be "unsubstantiated." Byrne was again removed from active ministry in February 2014 when a second allegation was made that he had sexually abused a child, also in the early 1970s. He died June 18, 2014.

Born: 1943
Ordained: May 21, 1969
Died: June 18, 2014



Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Boston archbishop was Richard James Cushing (1944-1970), follwed by Humberto Sousa Medeiros (1970-1983).

6/09/75 St. Matthew's

Boston (Dorchester)

Byrne was placed on leave in May 2012 after he was accused of child sexual abuse in the early 1970s.

A second allegation was made to the archdiocese in February 2014 that Byrne sexually abused a child in the early 1970s.

MA 3/4 , 3/3, 2/2

St. Matthew's had a school with 387-299 students.

1976 1979 Walpole State Prison Walpole   chaplain This assignment is per Byrne's obituary.


Medeiros was succeeded by Bernard Francis Law (1984-2002).

6/17/85 St. John the Baptist Quincy MA 4/5, 3/4, 4/4 Per his obituary, Byrne was a police and hospital chaplain in Quincy for 10 years.
    Archdiocesan Office of Vocations; Project Rachel; Office of Spiritual Development Boston MA   These assignments are per Byrne's obituary.
    Permanent Deaconate Program; Chrism Adult Education Program; Special Needs Religious Education Program (South Region)     spiritual director These assignments are per Byrne's obituary.
6/18/85 6/07/94 St. Albert the Great Weymouth MA 2/2, 2/3  
6/08/94 11/15/02 Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted


Byrne pleaded guilty to embezzling over $135,000 from this parish; he was given 5 years' probation in 2005.

MA 1/2, 1/1 Our Lady's had a school with 180 students.


Fall River bishop was George William Coleman (2003-2014).

10/31/08 Unassigned       Moved to Falmouth MA in February 2003.
11/01/08 5/12 Senior Priest/Retired/
St. Patrick's
Falmouth MA fill-in priest  


Boston archbishop was Sean Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap. (2003-).

2013 Senior Priest/Retired/St. Camillus Arlington MA

3/3, 2/2

in residence

St. Camillus had a CCD program.

This assignment is per the 2012 and 2013 Directories.

5/12 5/13 Administrative Leave   MA   Byrne was placed on leave in May 2012 after a report was made to the Boston archdiocese that Byrne had sexually abused a child in the early 1970s. He was reinstated in May 2013 after the archdiocese found the allegation to be "unsubstantiated."


Fall River diocese

2/04/14 Senior Priest/Retired Falmouth MA   Byrne was removed for a second time, on February 4, 2014 due to another allegation that he sexually abused a child in the early 1970s.
2/04/14 6/18/14 Administrative Leave   MA   Byrne died June 18, 2014.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, )

Falmouth Priest on Leave after Child Sex Abuse Allegation, Boston Globe, May 25, 2012
Priest with Cape Ties Faces Abuse Allegation, By Sean Teehan, Cape Cod Times, May 25, 2012
Falmouth Priest Father Joseph F. Byrne Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Child, By Margaret Carroll-Bergman, The Patch,
May 25, 2012
Former Waltham Pastor Accused of Abuse, By Julia Spitz, MetroWest Daily News , May 25, 2012
Accused Mass. Priest Has Pleaded to Embezzlement, San Antonio Express-News, May 25, 2012
Archdiocese of Boston Places Rev. Joseph F. Byrne on Administrative Leave of Absence, By Kellyanne Dignan, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, May 25, 2012
Members of Group for Priest Abuse Survivors Air Concerns to Fall River Diocese, By Marc Munroe Dion, Herald News,
September 28, 2012
Boston Archdiocese Reinstates Suspended Priest, NECN, May 23, 2013
Retired Priest with Ties to Quincy Cleared of Abuse Allegation, The Patriot-Ledger, May 23, 2013
Obituary, Fr Joseph F. Byrne, June 19, 2014
Publication With Respect to Archdiocesan. Clergy Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Child,, accessed September 8, 2015

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Byrne's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on September 10, 2015.