Courtesy of the Boston Post-Gazette

Friends and parishioners of Father Claude Scrima, of the North End’s St. Leonard Church, honored the much loved priest last week by celebrating his 85th birthday. Ordained a Franciscan priest in 1961, he has been active in several ministries. After his early years teaching in high schools staffed by Franciscans and then in an Andover seminary, he moved to chaplaincy and parochial ministry. He has also dedicated part of his life to the Secular Franciscan Order helping to establish a provincial office at Andover while becoming an admired and acclaimed retreat master and preacher of missions in parishes within the Archdiocese of Boston and elsewhere.

Some years ago when the reserved priest told us about his life and works, Father Claude Scrima described the cultural conflicts between Irish and Italian residents of the North End of Boston and remarked about how family oriented the North End was when he was a boy growing up in the neighborhood. He began to feel a vocation to the priesthood when he was quite young and was moved to make the decision at the youthful age of 15 because of the strong influence he saw the church had on the community. Father Claude also spoke of the prevalence of secret societies formed during bygone times of bias against Italians, while also expressing his gratitude that times have changed and that the North End Italian community faces fewer hardships than when he was a boy.

Michele Morgan shares these photos from the occasion.

Photos by Michele Morgan.

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