Cardinal O’Malley appoints new pastor in Haverhill

BRIGHTON -- Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley has announced the appointment of Father Robert W. Murray from parochial vicar at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston to pastor of St. James Parish, Haverhill. The appointment was effective Feb. 12.

A Lowell native who grew up in Dracut and is a son of St. Michael Parish, Father Murray is an alumnus of The University of Massachusetts at Amherst and St. John’s Seminary. Cardinal Bernard F. Law ordained him to the priesthood at the cathedral on June 25, 1988. Following his seminary studies and deacon year at St. Malachy Parish, Burlington Father Murray’s first priestly assignment was as a parochial vicar at St. Mary Parish, Lynn.

In 1993 he was named to a dual position serving part-time as parochial vicar at St. Jeremiah Parish and part-time as chaplain at Marian High School, both in Framingham. In 1997 he returned to fulltime parish ministry when he was named parochial vicar at St. Catherine of Genoa Parish, Somerville.

He returned to his alma mater, St. John’s Seminary, when in 2000 Cardinal Law appointed him to the seminary faculty where he served for the next four years as director of field education. This included responsibility for placing and evaluating seminarians in various assignments to parishes, agencies and institutions across the archdiocese where the academic would meet the day to day life of people.

In 2004 he was granted a period of priestly renewal during which he spent time learning Spanish by total immersion in Central America. On his return to the archdiocese that newly honed skill was put to immediate good use when he was assigned as parochial vicar at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in April 2005.

With his return to the Merrimack Valley and specifically to St. James, Father Murray will bring a wealth of priestly and pastoral experience to a large and diverse parish. Especially useful will be his recently acquired facility in Spanish, as the city of Haverhill and St. James Parish have experienced a rapid increase in the number of Spanish speaking individuals.