Corpus Christi Parish
Conneaut, Ohio
Of the diocese of Youngstown, ohio

 
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The Most Reverend George V. Murry, S.J., Ph.D.
Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown

Bishop Murry was Installed as the Fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown at St. Columba Cathedral on Wednesday, March 28.  Attending the installation with Father Thomas was Sister Barbara, Director of Religious Education, Linda Kehoe, Administrative Assistant, and Norm Black and Renea Roach, Chair and Vice-Chair of our Pastoral Planning Council. 

INSTALLATION HOMILY

CATHEDRAL OF ST. COLUMBA

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO

MARCH 28, 2007

MOST REVEREND GEORGE V. MURRY, SJ

 

MASTER, LET ME SEE AGAIN

MARK 10: 46-52

Shakespeare’s Moor, Othello, defending himself and his actions before a hostile crowd, concludes his defense by saying: 

“My story being done,

She gave me for my pains a world of sighs:

She swore, in faith, ‘twas strange, ‘twas passing strange;

‘Twas pitiful, ‘twas wondrous pitiful:

She wish’d she had not heard it, yet she wish’d

That heaven had made her such a man; she thank’d me,

And bade me, if I had a friend that lov’d her,

I should but teach him how to tell my story . . .”

Othello, I, iii, 158

There is something in our human spirit that loves a story.  In simple yet symbolic words, they capture our hopes and joys, our sorrows and anxieties. Ecstasy is transformed into narrative so we may prolong it. Pain is transformed so we may bear it.  Jesus knew this, hence his parables. The Evangelists also knew this, hence the Gospels. And of all the great stories found among the sacred texts, there is none that more clearly reveals the mission of Jesus than this story of the blind man on the road to Jericho.

All of the elements of a good story are present. There are two fascinating characters, Jesus and Bartimaeus. There is drama: The desire of Bartimaeus to encounter Jesus. There is suspense: We do not know if Jesus will hear the blind man calling after him and stop. There is hope: As spectators, we want the two men to meet. And there is resolution: Because of his faith, the physical sight of Bartimaeus is restored.

Luke makes a distinction between the two forms of sight in this story, physical and spiritual. Bartimaeus was physically blind; there is no doubt of that. But his spiritual sight was as clear as the noon day sun. He knew who Jesus was and he believed that Jesus could work wonders upon him. It was that faith that enabled Jesus to open the eyes of Bartimaeus so that he might see the color and variation in the world around him. But Jesus also, and more importantly, strengthened the spiritual sight of Bartimaeus so that he could see and know that the Father had kept his promise. God had sent a savior. 

The Gospels are not simply about people who lived a long time ago in a land far, far away. The Gospels are also about us and speak to our time and our tasks in history. Each one of us has a role in the Gospels. Each one of us has a mission from the Gospels. In this Gospel, we may see ourselves as spectators, with a mission to watch and listen. Or we may see ourselves as the one who is blind, the one whose eyes Jesus comes to open with a mission to follow Him along the road.

I believe that we are the ones whom Jesus comes to heal, for in fact, so often we are blind: blind to God’s everlasting love for us; blind to how God’s hand guides us through life and even through death, into everlasting life; blind to God presence in and through those who love us and challenge us; blind to God’s willingness to forgive us whenever we sin, not once, not twice, but as many times as we turn to Him; blind to God’s Real Presence among us in the Eucharist that we share. Because of our blindness, our voices should echo the prayer of Bartimaeus: “Master, let me see again.”

I stand before you today, the priests, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Youngstown along with my family, my friends and our distinguished guests, to ask the Lord to open my eyes to see you: to see the living God who dwells within you; to see Jesus touch your sorrows and make them into joys; to see families of love and strength; to see your children grow in knowledge, wisdom and grace; to see the needs of the poor in our community, including the unemployed, the underemployed and those who struggle each day to make ends meet; to see the hardships endured by immigrants who come to northeastern Ohio seeking a better life.

I pray that the Lord will not only open my eyes but also open your eyes: to see the living God who dwells in your neighbor, regardless of her ethnic heritage or his native language; to see how God makes a way out of no way, even in disappointment, even in death; to see your vocation to be the first and best teachers of your children in the ways of faith; to see our mutual responsibility

to lift up the poor; and to see our primary task as building the Kingdom of God on earth.

But how can we gain that sight? How can our eyes be opened? There is only one who can remove our blindness, only one who can set us free.  Bartimaeus knew His name: Jesus, Son of David. Some in the crowd told him to be quiet, but the Scriptures tell us he cried out all the louder. He was not afraid of embarrassing himself in the eyes of others. He wanted to meet the Lord and nothing, nothing was going to stand in his way.

If we want our eyes opened, we, too, must be determined to come before the Lord. We must seize every opportunity for prayer — with the community of the faithful at Mass and in the solitary moments of our day — to bask in His presence and allow Him to wash over us with His love.

Jesus told Bartimaeus that his faith had saved him. Each day of our lives, He says the same to us. Faith is a gift from God. We do not approach God first; rather, He approaches us for no other reason than that He loves us. Faith is our response to God’s call, an invitation to live in and through Him. Once we find the courage to embrace that great gift, then nothing is impossible. Our eyes can be opened, our hearts can be filled with joy, and we can be sure that all is safe in the hands of the Lord. Will we face difficulties? Surely. That is the human condition. Will we fail? Undoubtedly. We are not perfect.  But will the evil one prevail? Never. For God will keep His promise. He will save us. Therein is found our hope. Not hope in the sense of succeeding against all odds, as when we say “I hope I will win the lottery,” but hope in its most original and theological sense: an unshakable conviction that God will be true to His word. 

You and I know from experience that God is good. All we need do is take a moment to remember and we will know that He has shown us His goodness in ways too numerous to count. We are men and women of faith. Sometimes our faith is strong and at other times it is weak. But we know that God loves us and that He will stretch out His hand to us when we falter. Thus, now, just as Bartimaeus, we have but one more task to accomplish. We must follow Jesus along the road and glorify God in our words and actions. And that will be our story, yours and mine.

As bishop of this ethnically, culturally and economically diverse local church, I commit myself with God’s help to carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ to you and to carry you to the Gospel. To the best of my ability, I will strive to fulfill the responsibilities of a bishop as found in the Holy Scriptures: to teach, to administer and to sanctify. In so doing, I will strive to continue the ancient mission of the apostles. I will stand on the shoulders of my predecessors and in union with the Holy Father and my brother bishops, with whom I share this mission.

Of you, I would ask three prayers. Please pray for the Church, that with all her human frailty, she may continue to show us the Lord of Love. Pray for each other, especially the least among us, that the Lord may open all of our eyes to see Him and fortify us to follow Him. And finally, I ask you to pray for me, that I may be a good and wise Shepherd of this diocese and lead you to Christ, where we will live forever in His peace.


"Christ My Light" is the Episcopal motto of the Most Reverend George V. Murry, S.J.

Upon his appointment, Bishop Murry stated: "I am honored to accept the Holy Father's appointment to serve as Bishop of Youngstown and I look forward to meeting and working with the priests, deacons, religious and laity of the diocese." Later during Mass in the Cathedral, he preached about remaining in God's love by holding on to Jesus and walking with him.

Bishop Murry was born in Camden, New Jersey, in 1948. After graduating from Catholic elementary and high schools, he attended St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland where he received a bachelor's degree in Philosophy in 1972. That same year he entered the Society of Jesus. He was ordained for the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus on June 9, 1979. He earned a Masters of Divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley in 1979 and a doctorate in American Cultural History from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 1994.

Bishop Murry served on the faculty and was dean of student activities at Gonzaga College High School, Washington, D.C., from 1974-1976. He was assistant professor of American Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., from 1986-1990, and president of Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C., from 1989-1994. He was named Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Detroit-Mercy in 1994.

On January 24, 1995, Pope John Paul II appointed him titular Bishop of Fuerteventura and Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago where he was ordained to the episcopacy on March 20, 1995. On May 5, 1998, Pope John Paul II appointed him Coadjutor Bishop of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. Bishop Murry succeeded to the see on June 30, 1999.

Bishop Murry has served on numerous boards including the University of Detroit and Loyola Academy, both in Detroit, Michigan, St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland and Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. He is a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and serves on the Domestic Policy and Education Committees. Since 2002, he has also served on the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services, the overseas arm of the U.S. Bishops, which provides food, clothing, shelter and medicine for those in need.

Bishop Murry was installed as the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown on March 28, 2007. He succeeds Bishop Thomas J. Tobin who was installed as Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island on May 31, 2005