BANGOR---The line of cars stretched through the parking lot of St. Mary Church in Bangor, over 300 in total, some waiting for over an hour to spend a few moments with the man of the hour: Fr. Frank Murray.
“I will be retired but still a very happy priest,” Fr. Murray told his parishioners on Sunday, July 26, the same day a special and surprise “driving parade” of parishioners, friends, and colleagues was held (many pictures below).
Many of the cars featured balloons, streamers, posters, and signs to offer best wishes to Fr. Murray, who will retire from active ministry on August 1. Some of the signs really made an impression, including “Thank You for Marrying Us,” “Never Forget the Difference You Made,” and “Vocation to Vacation.” Parishioners came from all over Maine to take part, including his sisters, Winnie and Cynthia, and his brother Buddy.
The staff at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Bangor bought him a new fire pit for his camp, and nearly all of the hundreds of participants in the parade had prepared cards or special messages for a man who has given them so much.
“I have never thought very much about retirement,” said Fr. Murray, who will remain in Bangor and assist when he can after a nice break. “There are probably many reasons but I suspect the main reason is that I have felt fulfilled in practically every phase of my life. This obviously has been a tremendous blessing for which I am greatly thankful.”
A native of Bangor, Fr. Murray earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Maine at Orono. He completed his clerical studies at Theological College at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., earning a master of divinity degree. Fr. Murray was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Edward C. O’Leary on June 6, 1981, at St. John Church in Bangor. During his active ministry, he served at parishes in Bangor, Orono, Auburn, Norway, Brunswick, and Mechanical Falls. In addition his parish contributions, Fr. Murray also served as the diocesan director of vocations, the diocesan director of seminarians, and as a hospital chaplain. Prior to beginning his clerical studies in 1977, he served as a member of the Maine House of Representatives for two terms and also taught and coached at John Bapst High School in Bangor for four years.