Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., died this morning, June 5, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York. In late May he submitted his resignation to Pope Francis, due to a recurrence of leukemia. He was 71 years old at the time of his death.
Bishop Murry was a keynote speaker at the 2018 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in Washington, D.C., where he drew attendees into envisioning a more just world through reform within the Catholic Church, drawing from his role as former chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee Against Racism. “While racism is America’s most persistent sin, it appears as if the American Catholic Church has been virtually silent about it,” he said. He grounded his call to action in personal relationships as a starting point, urging attendees to “make an effort to know someone of a different race, to listen to their story, to walk in their shoes, then to use the gifts that you have been given…to offer people on the margins opportunity.”
“The entire Ignatian family mourns the loss of Bishop Murry,” said Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network, a lay-led, faith-based non-profit organization, co-laboring with the Jesuit and broader Catholic network on social justice education, networking, and advocacy. Kerr described Bishop Murry’s presence at the 2018 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice as “humble” and “impactful” for those in attendance, particularly young Catholics exploring what type of Church and society they are seeking. “He challenged us, but also gave us hope,” Kerr noted.
Bishop Murry was born in Camden, New Jersey, in 1948. After graduating from Catholic elementary and high schools, he attended St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland where he received a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy in 1972. That same year he entered the Society of Jesus. He was ordained for the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus on June 9, 1979. He earned a Masters of Divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley in 1979 and a doctorate in American Cultural History from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 1994.
Bishop Murry served on the faculty and was dean of student activities at Gonzaga College High School, Washington, D.C., from 1974-1976. He was an assistant professor of American Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., from 1986-1990, and president of Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C., from 1989-1994. He was named Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Detroit-Mercy in 1994. On January 24, 1995, Pope John Paul II appointed him titular Bishop of Fuerteventura and Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago where he was ordained to the episcopacy on March 20, 1995. On May 5, 1998, Pope John Paul II appointed him Coadjutor Bishop of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. Bishop Murry succeeded to the see on June 30, 1999. He was a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and has served as Secretary of the Conference, Chairman of the Committee on Priorities and Plans. He served briefly as Chairman of the Committee Against Racism. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services.