Hill Happenings

was pleased to engage in a nice chat with Father Philip Dabney at Mike’s Donuts the day before his departure to Washington D.C. after 12 years of serving at Mission Church. There is a bench in front of the church aptly named for this wonderful priest. Father Dabney was delighted by his sendoff party last month at Cedars of Lebanon Hall in Jamaica Plain.  I drew a chuckle from Fr. Dabney, when he promised me, he’ll be back within two years for a visit. With background voices from the television talking heads on the news ( Mike’s always has C.N.N. on) I told Fr. Dabney that when he returns, CNN will still be talking about Russian collusion.

Father Robert Lennon, our Mission Church Healing Minister , celebrated his 89th birthday on August 25. This extraordinary priest was ordained 67 years ago. vAs a youth, Fr. Lennon  was a skilled second baseman on the famous 1944 Mission Hill C.Y.O. baseball team. That group won the Massachusetts. State C.Y.O. Championship, living out their dreams, playing games at Braves Field and Fenway Park. Several of the players had older brothers fighting in World War ll, and before their games up the Hill at McLaughlin Park, the team would pray for the soldiers, lighting candles in Mission Church.

Wayne Selden, from Mission Hill, signed a one year contract last week to play for Shandong in the Chinese Basketball Association. It was a business decision for Wayne, who played for the Chicago Bulls last year. The Chinese Basketball Association is the preeminent pro sports league in Asia and each team may carry only two American players. Wayne, who will turn 25 next month, is a great kid and a terrific ball player. It doesn’t seem that long ago when Wayne was my bat boy for Winnie’s Pub in the Mission Hill Softball League.

I was saddened to hear of the death of Paul McCaffrey, who succumbed to cancer at age 78. Paul, who was my neighbor in the Mission Hill project, was my mentor when I was a youngster. Paul was the director of the St. Alphonsus Hall Youth Center, commonly known as “The Hall”, from the early to mid 1960’s. Paul, with his mixture of street smarts, organization skills and toughness was the perfect guy for the job. Paul had a tender heart but he would also display his jarring personality when dealing with the neighborhood ruffians. Downstairs at the Hall, the juke was constantly playing with tables full of people playing cards or chess. One memorable chess tournament saw Bill Mullin nip “Big Jim” Moynihan in the finals as the fans silently gathered around the participants. Downstairs there was also a ping pong table and upstairs you could shoot some pool. Up one more flight there was a timeworn bowling alley if you didn’t mind setting up your own pins. All these fun endeavors wouldn’t have been the same without Paul McCaffrey. Rest in Peace, Paul and thanks for enhancing my early teenage years.

If you’re around one of our neighborhood taverns on Sept. 19, I’ll be with my brother, Dan Martin, who’ll be celebrating his 75th birthday. Dan, who is still an avid handball player, won the World Handball Championship (over 50 division) in County Claire, Ireland in 1994. Dan occasionally likes a pint of Guineas to keep up his strength

Good luck to City Council District 8 candidate, Kristen Mobilia in the upcoming election. I’ve recently gotten to know Kristen, who has a BA in Economics from Northeastern University. Kristen is a personable woman who has a steady grasp of neighborhood issues. By the long arm of coincidence, Kristen’s aunt, Dorothy “Tina” Lynch was my Mission High classmate back in 1967. Hello to Tina, who was the smartest gal in our class.

Last Sunday Mitch Hilton hosted a party at his Iroquois Street home for At-Large Boston City Councilor, Alejandra St.Guillen. A large crowd gathered in the front yard for a Q and A session. It was nice meeting Alejandra, a former Boston Public School teacher who lived on Francis Street for many years.

Thanks and Good luck to Glenn Goda who recently left his position as Mission Church’s organ player. Glenn, a talented musician who lives on the Hill, is moving on to new endeavors after 28 years performing at the church.

Although the Mission Hill Post 327 building has been closed for a few years, Post 327 is back in operation as a “paper post”. For more info, contact Col. George Rollins at [email protected].

Congrats to the Mission Hill hoop teams who won the 18 and under and 15 under B.N.B.L. Basketball Championships held at University of Massachusetts at Boston last month. John Jackson and Chuck Davis did a great job coaching the teams, but more importantly, they are great mentors to the kids.

The seventh annual Mark MacDougall Memorial Golf Tournament was a success, as several former Mission Hill folks attended this great event last month at the Easton Country Club. The event is hosted by MacDougall Plumbing and Mechanical LLC.             The Mission Hill Senior Prom will be held on September 21 at the Harvard School of Public Health. For Prom tickets, which are free, see Carmen Pola at the Tobin Community Center. It will be a fun night and tickets are required.. The following Saturday morning, Sept. 28 is the Mission Hill Road Race. See you up the Hill at Fitzgerald Park for the race.

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