Rev. Matthew Murray Ordained Priest of the Diocese of Oakland
Former Transitional Deacon Matthew Murray, who has served faithfully for the past two years as SJND’s Director of Campus Ministry, was ordained to the priesthood on Friday, May 26 at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland by Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ.
“We choose these for the order of the priesthood,” said Bishop Barber. “The priesthood is not given to you for your benefit,” the bishop said, “but given to you for the benefit of others.” He charged them “to support our people with prayer, the sacraments and your loving presence as they carry their crosses through life.”
Bishop Barber has assigned Fr. Matthew to Holy Spirit Parish in Fremont for his first assignment as a priest beginning July 1.
Fr. Murray’s quiet humility, authenticity and deep love for the Lord will be missed by the community of Saint Joseph Notre Dame. While the students and faculty are sad to say goodbye, they know that the Lord will bless him in his new ministry. Fr. Matthew celebrated the Mass on Sunday May 28 at St. Joseph Basilica, followed by a reception and barbeque in the SJND quad in his honor.
The Diocese of Oakland recorded the ordination on Facebook, which you can watch here: Ordination to the Order of the Priesthood - Fr. Matthew Murray and Fr. Oscar Adrian Rojas
Read the article on Fr. Murray from the Catholic Voice (May 22, 2017) below.
'I've sensed the gravitational pull toward priesthood'
By Michele Jurich
The Murray Family of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Brentwood has a joyously busy weekend ahead of it.
Matthew Murray, 28, the eldest of the 11 children, will be ordained to the priesthood the evening of May 26. The next eldest son, home before beginning his new assignment in the Navy, will be a lector; a younger one will be an altar server.
The next morning, the newly minted Rev. Matthew Murray will attend graduation at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda, where he has served as campus minister for the past two years.
Then it's off to the home parish in Brentwood, where in the afternoon he'll concelebrate the Mass at which yet another brother will be confirmed.
At 5 p.m., Father Murray will celebrate his first Mass in his home parish. The next morning, it's back to St. Joseph Basilica Parish in Alameda, where he spent his year in the transitional diaconate, for the 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Masses.
"Ever since I was ordained a deacon," Rev. Mr. Murray said, "I've sensed the gravitational pull toward priesthood.
"I'm really thankful for the years in seminary, I'm really thankful for the years that I've been at St. Joe's. The more I become involved in parish ministry," he said, the more he knew "this is what God is calling me to."
In his parish work, his calling came alive. "You grow to know people, you grow to love people," he said. "Seeing how Christ uses our ministry as deacons and priests, seeing Christ at work in what I've done and the effect it has on people is really beautiful.
"You get to share in moments of people's lives," he said. "It's the path Christ has given me and I am thankful for that."
The journey to the ordination has received support along the way.
"I come from a big, Catholic family," Rev. Mr. Murray said. "I grew up with the faith. I came to love the faith, especially in high school. I knew a lot of great priests. I'm really thankful."
But the call came later.
"I wound up hearing the definitive call when I was in college," he said, "at a time of my life when I was wasn't thinking about the priesthood; a time in my life when I was dating, looking at careers. Priesthood wasn't on my radar.
"Being in front of Christ in the Eucharist and hearing his call, reminded me, it's Him. It's His idea. It's His plan. I'm just trying to say yes to it, and cooperate with all He wants to give. Ultimately it's His. It came through him. It came through the Eucharist. It came through His presence there. That's how all of our vocations ultimately come from Him."
Rev. Mr. Murray completed his studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. "I was in a house with 250 seminarians and priests from all over the United States," he said. In his three years there, he came to know a lot about the Church in America.
The seminarians shared where "good things are happening in different parts of the country," he said. "Despite the challenges we might face, we learn from each other and exchange ideas."
He was appreciative too, of the priests who were his teachers in Rome; many were pastors sharing their love for pastoral work.
Rome also offered "all the beautiful benefits of the religious culture," Rev. Mr. Murray said, including the opportunity, in the time of Pope Francis, "to soak up some of his evangelical; spirit, his dynamism, his evangelical drive."
Upon completion of his studies, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, had an assignment for him: campus minister at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda. After a year there, he was ordained to the transitional diaconate and served not just the school, but the parish.
As he looks to the future — he will serve as parochial vicar at Holy Spirit Parish in Fremont — he looks forward to preaching. "I enjoy preaching, preparing for homilies, praying about them," he said.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation also is ahead. "Being able to offer confession, offering people the opportunity to experience God's mercy," he said.
He hopes to celebrate Mass every day. "As priests, we exist for the Mass," he said. "Our existence is tied to the Eucharist.
"Christ becoming present physically in my hands, that's something I can't even imagine."