Murnion, Philip (Joseph) 1938-2003

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MURNION, Philip (Joseph) 1938-2003


See index for CA sketch: Born March 1, 1938, in Bronx, NY; died of colon cancer August 18, 2003, in Bronx, NY. Religious leader, educator, and author. Murnion was a monsignor in the Catholic Church who was founder of the National Pastoral Life Center in New York City. Earning his bachelor's degree at St. Joseph's Seminary and College in 1959, followed by a master's degree there in 1963, he was ordained a priest that year; he then continued his education at Columbia University, where he received his doctorate in 1971. During the 1960s Murnion was a high school religion teacher and pastor in Staten Island, becoming an associate pastor at St. Gregory the Great Roman Catholic Church in New York City from 1968 to 1974. He started teaching at the university level in 1971 as an adjunct professor at St. Joseph's, followed by positions at the University of Notre Dame and St. Peter's College. Beginning in 1981, he also taught at Fordham University, and he was also a professor at Boston College for a time. Murnion had a deep interest in sociology that led him to search for ways of improving relationships between the organized church and its laity, especially as more and more laypeople began to fulfill ministerial duties in the Catholic Church because of a shortage of priests. His work led him to found the National Pastoral Life Center and to establish, with Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, the Catholic Common Ground Initiative, which sought to reconcile differences between liberal and conservative factions in the church. Among his published works, he was the coauthor of two important sociological studies: New Parish Ministers: Laity and Religion on Parish Staffs (1992) and Parishes and Parish Ministers: A Study of Parish Lay Ministry (1999). During his career, Murnion was also director of the National Parish Project from 1978 to 1982 and chaired the Senate of Priests.



Los Angeles Times, August 23, 2003, p. B21.

New York Times, August 22, 2003, p. A23.

Washington Post, August 22, 2003, p. B7.

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Murnion, Philip (Joseph) 1938-2003

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