For longtime chaplain, a duty that never gets easier

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The Rev. Daniel J. Mahoney rushed out of the rectory at St. Francis de Sales Church in Charlestown as soon as he heard “Mayday Engine 33” crackle over the Boston Fire Department radio he keeps near him.

Within minutes, he arrived at the wind-whipped inferno that had quickly engulfed a brick apartment building in the Back Bay. Then, the solemn duties that he has carried out as Fire Department chaplain for nearly a half-century began.

As the organized chaos of urban firefighting swirled around him, Mahoney performed last rites on Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy. Kennedy and Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh Jr., who also died in the blaze, are the latest in a long line of firefighters who have fallen during Mahoney’s career.

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