Bishop James Murray dies at 87; served Michigan diocese for nine years

Bishop James Murray dies at 87; served Michigan diocese for nine years

Retired Bishop James A. Murray of Kalamazoo, Mich., is seen in this undated photo. He died June 5, 2020. He was 87. (Credit: CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of Kalamazoo.)

Bishop James A. Murray, the third bishop of the Diocese of Kalamazoo, died of natural causes June 5. He was 87.

KALAMAZOO, Michigan — Bishop James A. Murray, the third bishop of the Diocese of Kalamazoo, died of natural causes June 5. He was 87.

He served the diocese as bishop from 1998 until his retirement in 2009.

Bishop Paul J. Bradley of Kalamazoo announced his predecessor’s passing, saying he had visited Murray June 4.

“I was grateful to be able to visit him yesterday and relay how grateful we all are to him for his leadership as the third bishop of the Diocese of Kalamazoo, and since his retirement, for his wonderful priestly example of providing pastoral assistance wherever and whenever he could and for being such an exemplary priest and bishop of Jesus Christ,” Bradley said in a statement.

A native of Jackson, Michigan, Murray was born to James and Clare Murray July 5, 1932. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit. He held additional degrees in theology from St. John Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan, and from The Catholic University of America and a licentiate in canon law from that university.

Murray was ordained a priest in 1958 for the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan. He served in parishes and other ministries in the diocese until his appointment in 1998 as Kalamazoo’s bishop by St. John Paul II.

The Kalamazoo Diocese reported that Murray ordained 15 men as priests and 28 men as permanent deacons, confirmed more than 14,000 young Catholics, and welcomed more than 3,100 new Catholics into the church through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.

A private funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Augustine Cathedral in Kalamazoo. A memorial Mass will be planned in the future after current stay-at-home restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic are lifted.

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