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Msgr. Musphy elected Diocesan Administrator
Following the September 24 announcement that the Most Rev. Bernard A. Hebda had been named Coadjutor Archbishop for the Archdiocese of Newark, the College of Consultors for the Diocese of Gaylord met and elected the Rev. Msgr. Francis J. Murphy to serve as the Diocesan Administrator until Pope Francis appoints a new bishop for the diocese.
By canon law, each diocese is required to have a College of Consultors, priests who have been appointed by the Bishop to advise him in his administration of the diocese. They are appointed for a five-year term. Some decisions require that the Consultors give their consent while others require the Bishop to seek the counsel of the Consultors before making a decision. When a diocese is sede vacante, the see is vacant, the College of Consultors is charged with governing the diocese and is required to meet to elect a diocesan administrator within eight days of the vacancy. The Diocese of Gaylords College of Consultors, comprised of Msgr. Murphy and Revs. Anthony Citro, Raymond Cotter, Charles Donajkowski, Gregory McCallum, Lawrence Sergott and Dennis Stilwell, gathered at the Diocesan Pastoral Center in Gaylord and elected Msgr. Murphy on September 27. He will continue to serve as Pastor of the parishes of St. Ann in Cadillac, St. Edward in Harrietta, St. Stephen in Lake City and St. Theresa in Manton.
The qualifications for a diocesan administrator include being a priest who has completed 35 years of age and who is outstanding in doctrine and prudence. Msgr. Murphy is regarded as a superb priest, well-respected by the clergy of the Diocese, and a very capable administrator.
Msgr. Murphy, 73, was born September 15, 1940 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was ordained on June 4, 1966 at St. Andrew Cathedral in Grand Rapids by the Most Reverend Allen J. Babcock.
His first summer as a priest he was assigned to the Mexican Apostolate, working where needed and then became the Assistant Pastor for St. Francis de Sales Parish in Holland. He served as Associate Pastor for Immaculate Conception Parish in Traverse City before becoming Pastor at St. Mary of Hannah Parish and the Mission at Karlin. He also served as Pastor for the parishes of St. Joseph in East Tawas, St. James in Whittemore, St. Patrick in Traverse City, Rector of St. Mary Cathedral in Gaylord, Pastor of Holy Redeemer in Vanderbilt and St. Thomas Aquinas in Elmira, before moving to Cadillac in 1997.
Msgr. Murphy has also served as a Knights of Columbus Chaplain, Director of Department of Priestly Life Board, Vicar and member of the Presbyteral Council. He was named to the College of Consultors in 2010 and served as Spiritual Moderator for the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women for 34 years.
He was first appointed as Vicar General by the Most Reverend Patrick R. Cooney in 2001 and served in that role continuously until last week having been re-appointed Vicar General under Bishop Hebda.
During the 40th anniversary of the Diocese of Gaylord, he was named a Prelate of Honor of His Holiness with four other priests of the diocese by Pope Benedict XVI on December 23, 2011, a recognition which carries with it the honorary title of Monsignor.
Members of the College of Consultors announced the decision at a brief gathering of diocesan staff following the election noting their high regard and confidence both in Msgr. Murphy and in the diocesan staff during this time of transition.
Regarding his election Msgr. Murphy said, Its an honor not one that I was seeking but on the inside I guess I feel good because the Consultors have confidence in me. There are others who were just as capable or more so, so its an honor.
The D iocesan Administrators function is to maintain the status quo until the new bishop takes possession of the diocese.
We have great people in this diocese, the priests and the laity, Msgr. Murphy noted. Were going to just keep on doing what were doing, working together to serve the people.