The former leader of the Kalamazoo Diocese of the Catholic Church, James Murray died Friday, June 5th. He was 87 years old. Sunday, June 7th would have been the 62nd anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

A funeral Mass for Bishop Murray will be said on Thursday morning. Due to current Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, the Mass may be live-streamed but a final determination hasn't been made yet. Bishop Murray's body will arrive at St. Augustine's Cathedral Wednesday morning, and will lie in state from 10 am until 8 pm, and again Thursday from 8:30 am until 1 pm. the Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 2 pm, Thursday at St. Augustine Cathedral, and internment will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Murray was born in Jackson, the youngest of three boys. He was educated in the Catholic school system there, and after choosing a life in the priesthood, went to Sacred Heart Seminary. He was ordained in Lansing, and served his first Mass in his hometown.

All of Bishop Murray's assignments were at parishes in the state of Michigan, beginning in St. Joseph, then back to the Lansing area, and finally, to Kalamazoo.While in Lansing, he also served as chaplain for the Lansing Police Department.

Murray was elevated to the title of Monsignor in 1993, and was approaching retirement, when he was named Bishop of Kalamazoo by Pope John Paul II in late 1997, and was officially installed in January of 1998.

"Throughout his 11 years as Bishop he was known for his strong support of the Catholic schools as well as the ministry outreach to the growing Hispanic/Latino resident and migrant farm worker community and in 2006 released the “Diocesan Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Latino Ministry.” He approved the creation and implementation of the diocesan Trauma Recovery Program offered to all those who suffer from childhood trauma. Bishop Murray also contributed greatly to the work of the Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC), including his work as Advisor and author of MCC’s first assisted suicide education program (1993)" - Official obituary

Murray retired in 2009 at the age of 77, becoming Bishop Emeritus. He stayed busy volunteering his time for various church related duties and events.

He is survived by numerous nephews and nieces.

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