Father Kevin Murphy
It was a homecoming of sorts for Father Kevin Murphy. He had served as associate pastor at St. Louis from 1979 to 1981. In June of 2005 he returned as our pastor.
As a boy, Father Kevin had grown up in Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Greece. He also attended Sacred Heart Parish and Sacred Heart Cathedral School. He recalled that a number of priests were influential in his decision to enter St. Andrew’s Seminary after eighth grade, including Father Michael Hogan, then an assistant pastor of the cathedral and brother of Rochester Bishop Joseph L. Hogan.
Father Kevin earned his master’s degree in divinity at St. Bernard’s Seminary and a master’s degree in education from Boston College. He was ordained June 1, 1968, by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
His first assignment was as associate pastor at St. Mary’s in Canandaigua. From 1972-77 he worked in campus ministry at Cornell University. Following assignments in the Southern Tier and Rochester, he had moved to St. Joseph Church in 1996.
At the end of Fr. Kevin’s first summer at St. Louis, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. St. Louis Church along with St. Catherine’s and Transfiguration responded to a diocesan appeal to provide aid to churches in the Gulf Coast Region. We “adopted” Our Lady of Prompt Succor (OLPS) parish in Chalmette, Louisiana and sent home-store gift cards and donations, in addition to pairing parishioners with OLPS families to provide a personal touch with phone calls and letters of support. 275 St. Louis families participated with donations presented to 34 families at OLPS.
Father Kevin established a warm-weather tradition of celebrating the 11AM Mass on the front lawn of The Manse followed by a parish picnic. Outdoor Masses and picnics were held twice each year, in early June and early September.
Sr. Judith Ann Kenrick, RSM came to St. Louis Church in 1994, serving first as Pastoral Associate for Stephen Ministry. Through the years she touched just about every aspect of pastoral care. She lead the Lazarus Group, offering prayers and spiritual support at funeral liturgies and the Bereavement Group, guiding parishioners in their mourning. She led our hospital outreach, as well as our ministry to The Highlands and Heather Heights senior care communities.
When Sister Judy died on August 21, 2009, she had served the people of God in the Diocese of Rochester with her spirit, her gentleness, and compassion for more than 50 years.
In the words of Fr. Kevin, “Sister Judy touched so many of us in a personal and individual way. She seemed to have that gift to be there when someone was in need with just the right word or way to share comfort. I feel blessed to having shared ministry with her over my four years here. She was inspiring to me in how she accepted the cross of cancer and she never stopped giving of herself even when she was ill.”
The Reversion of St. Louis School
In 2010 we began planning for the return of St. Louis School to parish control. Since 1992, the school had been part of Monroe County Catholic Schools. The financial challenges involved in the reversion of the school were met by a dedicated committee of parishioners from both school and non-school backgrounds. The focus was to create a business plan that would assure the viability of the school well into the future. Our Catholic School Committee, chaired by Bill Quinn, considered a range of options and concerns as they addressed this issue. In late November, the Committee made a recommendation to the Finance Council that the parish take back the school with full responsibility for its management and organization. The Finance Council approved the recommendation and on December 6th Jim Schnell, the Chair of the Finance Council made a presentation to the Parish Council. They voted unanimously to approve the recommendation and to accept responsibility for St. Louis Catholic School. By September of 2011, our School was once again a parish school and so began another chapter in the long history of Catholic education supported by our parish.
The Death of Lou Hohman
Early in 2011, Lou Hohman, our pastor from 1983 to 1993 died at age 89 in Sarasota, Florida.
The Retirement of Father Kevin
On April 13, 2011, Father Kevin had foot surgery and spent the following ten days recovering at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse, returning to the rectory on Easter. He noted in the bulletin that, “This is the second Holy Week in the last three that I have been out of commission. Maybe this will settle the matter and I can get back to my normal.”
But that was not to be. After discussions with his physician and Bishop Clark, Father Kevin requested early retirement from pastoral leadership. He said, “I have decided that this would be the best approach for me and for St. Louis. I have been blessed in so many ways over the past six years, but my health has been an on-going concern and it’s time I did something about that.”
At Father Kevin’s farewell reception in June, the St. Louis community presented him with a gift of a vacation trip to Ireland. The very next weekend, we welcomed our current pastor, Father Bob Ring, who became the sixth pastor of St. Louis Church.