Former Wollongong Catholic Church bishop William Edward Murray has died in a Sydney nursing home.
A statement released by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference late yesterday said Bishop Murray died peacefully on Sunday afternoon at the Little Sisters of the Poor nursing home in Randwick.
He was 93.
Paying tribute to Bishop Murray yesterday, current Wollongong bishop Peter Ingham described his predecessor as a ‘‘dedicated priest’’ who served the Wollongong diocese for 22 years.
“Between 1975 and 1996 when he served was a time of great change and development for the church,’’ Bishop Ingham said.
‘‘Bishop Murray made provisions for the vast expanding Macarthur area with the establishment of new parishes, to provide for the growing needs of the community.
“He had a sharp sense of humour, and cared for the people of the diocese.
‘‘His final years were difficult for him having suffered a stroke which crippled his body and impaired his ability to speak.’’
Bishop Murray was born February 16, 1920 in Leichhardt and attended De La Salle College in Marrickville before entering St Columba’s Seminary at Springwood train as a priest.
He was ordained by Cardinal Normal Gilroy on July 21, 1945 at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney and appointed Bishop of Wollongong thirty years later on June 5, 1975.
Bishop Murray had a doctorate from the Gregorian University in Rome in international law, and a doctorate in social science from the University of Sydney.
He was awarded an Order of Australia in 1988.
President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart said Bishop Murray would be remembered with ‘‘affection and prayer’’.
“On behalf of the Australian bishops I recognise the generous pastoral service of Bishop Murray in Wollongong as a bishop for over 20 years and as a priest for 37 years,’’ he said.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been finalised.