Biographies

Father John H. Murray, MM

Born: April 8, 1879
Ordained: May 21, 1921
Died: January 13, 1945

Father John H. Murray, the first Maryknoller to die in the Hawaiian Islands, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on April 8, 1879. Following his elementary education he went to a technical high school and then to Lawrence Scientific School of Harvard University. During this period he developed a natural talent for music, becoming highly competent as a trombone player, even playing occasionally with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. This interest continued while he followed his profession as an engineer from 1902 to 1914, when he entered Maryknoll.

Cardinal Hayes of New York ordained Father Murray on May 21, 1921. He was assigned to Kwangsi, S. China where he was one of Maryknoll’s pioneer missioners. Due to his age, Father had difficulty with the language but he adapted himself well to the demands of mission work. A civil war which raged all around him added to the difficulty of his stay at Pingnam.

Father Murray was recalled to the United States in 1927 and enjoyed a brief visit at home before setting out on a new assignment to Hawaii. While working at the Cathedral in Honolulu for three years, Father laid the foundations of St. Teresa’s parish. He worked mostly among those of Oriental ancestry but also devoted much time to the service men stationed nearby.

Besides being a courageous man, Father Murray was also a humble one who dreaded the limelight and sought to work in the shadows. Outstanding traits of his personality were his thoughtfulness, kindness and especially his love for children. One great characteristic of his priesthood was his unfailing ability to give himself completely to every individual who approached him. He was always the shepherd even to the least of his flock.

From 1930 until his death, Father carried on his work at Sacred Heart Parish, Punahou. During this time he returned to the mainland twice because of sickness. In 1942 he once again set out for Hawaii, after a year’s absence, and tried to resume his duties as curate; but he soon fell ill. On the evening of January 13, 1945 Father was annointed by Father Ruppert, he died peacefully. Father was interred in Diamond Head Cemetery.