Packed Wollongong Cathedral farewells Bishop William Murray

Bishop Bill Murray, photo

Media Release, 2 May 2013

Family members of Bishop William Murray were joined by Bishop Peter Ingham (Bishop of Wollongong), Cardinal George Pell (Archbishop of Sydney), Archbishop Denis Hart (Archbishop of Melbourne and President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference), other archbishops and bishops, many clergy and about 500 parishioners at St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Wollongong, yesterday (1 May) for a Mass of Christian Burial for the late Bishop William Murray (Bishop Emeritus of Wollongong).

In his homily, Bishop Ingham paid tribute to Bishop Murray’s contribution to the life and development of the Diocese of Wollongong over 21 years, particularly his foresight in relation to the development of parishes and schools, the establishment of CatholicCare and the setting up of the Catholic Education Office.

Bishop Ingham said, “Today we celebrate the birth into eternal life of Bishop William Edward Murray, a member of a large extended family, a parish priest, seminary rector and the second Bishop of Wollongong. He came to a multi-cultural, urban and semi-rural part of Australia that was growing and developing and still is.

“In many ways the Bishop’s death has been a happy release after suffering a debilitating stroke that robbed him of his mobility and of his ability to communicate easily some six years ago… Yet to those who knew Bishop Murray well, and to his family particularly, his passing strikes a chord of pain and separation with which the reality of death confronts all of us.”

Image from funeral

Bishop Ingham reminded us that as Christians, we are people of hope – death does not have the final word. He said, “Christians experience two responses to death: the very human sorrow at losing a person dear to us, and yet the very distinct undercurrent of hope because Jesus rose from the dead as the first fruits of all who die in Christ. Scripture opens up for us in Jesus Christ the ultimate meaning of life and of death… Bishop Murray has now achieved the ultimate purpose of his existence – to come before God in whom we live and move and have our being.”

Bishop Murray’s niece, Patricia Murray, gave the eulogy on behalf of the extended family. Patricia said, “If there was one word we could find to describe Uncle Bill it would be that he was loyal. He was loyal to his family, loyal to his friends, and loyal to the Church. It was his faith in God that set the direction for his life…

“Uncle Bill was a central character to all our wider family gatherings over the years – performing baptisms, marriages and funerals and encouraging us all in our life’s decisions whichever way they took us. For some of the family he was more than an uncle. He became a father-figure.”

To read Bishop Ingham’s Homily, click here

For further media information contact:

Daniel Hopper, Diocesan Communications Coordinator
4222 2461 |0418 667 517 | daniel.hopper@dow.org.au

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