Biloxi Diocese official dies visiting Ireland

Published 8:55 pm Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rev. Msgr. Andrew L. Murray, vicar general for the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi, has died during a trip to Ireland. He was 59.

Murray died Monday while visiting his native Ballinasloe in Galway County, said Diocese communications manager Shirley M. Henderson.

Henderson said Wednesday that Murray had traveled to Ireland earlier in the month with plans to officiate at the baptism of a family member.

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“Unfortunately, he fell ill before he was able to do that,” Henderson said.

Henderson said Murray had suffered from severe emphysema and its complications for years.

Henderson said funeral arrangements were still being made. She says Most Rev. Roger P. Morin, Bishop of the Biloxi Diocese, will attend services in Ireland.

Morin, who was named bishop in March, said in a statement the church and the people of South Mississippi have lost a great priest.

“He will leave his mark on the history of our diocesan Church. His was an extraordinary ministry of priestly service to the faithful of the diocese,” Morin said. “Msgr. Murray was respected for his wise leadership, his spiritual depth and example, and his courageous struggle with his illness.

“Although I am deeply saddened by the news of Msgr. Murray’s death, I thank God for his priestly ministry to the people of God for these past 36 years.”

Murray was ordained on June 12, 1973, at St. Michael Church in Ballinasloe.

He previously served as assistant pastor of Nativity BVM Parish in Biloxi and Sacred Heart Parish in Pascagoula. He was also pastor at churches in Woolmarket, Gulfport and Biloxi.

He received the Papal Honor of Domestic Prelate (Monsignor) in 1988.

Murray served as vicar general of the Diocese of Biloxi — a position second only to the diocesan bishop — under three bishops.

Survivors include a sister and three nephews.