Rev. Myron F. Bullock, 79; Was a Pastor in Gloucester

By Amanda Bergeron
Boston Globe
April 21, 2007

When the Rev. Myron F. Bullock Jr. learned in 2004 that Sacred Heart Church in Gloucester, where he was pastor for nearly 30 years, was closing to merge with three other churches, he was determined that his parishioners cooperate with the change.

"He wanted people to come together," said Patty Natti, longtime parishioner and cantor at St. Ann's Church in Gloucester. "He said, 'If you resist this change, then I have failed as a priest.' His ministry was not about material things, he taught us that it's not about the building; it's about the community."

Father Bullock died of complications from a respiratory illness Tuesday, his 79th birthday, at Holy Family Parish Rectory in Gloucester.

Father Bullock was a native of Boston. He attended Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and St. John's Seminary in Brighton. He was ordained in 1953 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End.

Father Bullock served at several Boston-area churches until 1975 when he became pastor of Sacred Heart Church in the Lanesville section of Gloucester; he remained there until retiring in 2004. After retiring he stayed in Gloucester to serve as senior priest at Holy Family Parish Rectory.

Known for his succinct sermons, Father Bullock had a gift for conveying Gospel readings into present-day lessons.

Recently, Natti said, St. Ann's Church had begun reprinting Father Bullock's sermons in its weekly bulletins and people who could not attend Mass often asked friends and relatives to bring them a copy.

"Patients in nursing homes would wait to read his sermons," she said. "He would be able to explain things in the simplest terms."

Father Bullock's dedication to his church was unwavering. Natti said that on one occasion, he had fallen down some stairs and broken his arm on the way to an 8:15 a.m. Sunday Mass. Determined not to miss the service, he waited until after he had said the Mass before he went to the hospital. When he got there, he told the medical staff that he only had half an hour. Only partially treated, he returned to the church in time to say the 10:30 celebration.

The Rev. Timothy Harrison, pastor of St. Ann's Church, said he has often heard the story of another occasion when Father Bullock was en route to a baptism and his car hit a patch of ice and flipped over. "When police arrived they wanted to take him to the hospital," Harrison said. "But he insisted on going to the baptism first."

Father Bullock was known for visiting his parishioners in times of need and ministering to the sick.

"He was like 'Where's Waldo?' He was everywhere," Natti said. "In the death of my parents, in the birth of my children, he was always stopping by the house. It would be his face I would see in the doorway at the hospital."

When Father Bullock retired in 2004 due to poor health, he was no longer able to say Mass but he continued his ministry through prayer. "I found him to be a very prayerful presence in the rectory," Harrison said. "He was a good role model for that."

Father Bullock was extremely close to his brother, the Rev. Robert Bullock, a driving force behind the Sharon Inter-Faith Action Alliance who died in 2004. He supported many of the causes his brother worked for, specifically the forging of Jewish-Christian relationships, but he took a less public role. "He was man of peace. He was a person who believed in humankind and that humanity was of the utmost importance," Natti said. "He was an amazing person. Everyone just loved him."

Father Bullock requested that his obituary end with these words:

"To all who brightened and lightened my path through this world, to all those who made me a better person than I could have possibly been otherwise, to all those who made a difference: many, many thanks."

A funeral Mass will be said today at 11 a.m. in St. Ann's Church. Burial will follow at Holyhood Cemetery in Brookline.

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