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Diocesan priests changing jobs

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OGDENSBURG — When Monsignor John D. Murphy steps down as moderator of the curia for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg, he won’t be saying goodbye.

Instead, Monsignor Murphy will work full time as the administrator of the Church of the Visitation in Norfolk and St. Raymond’s Church in Raymondville. He had been working at both parishes part-time while fulfilling his diocesan responsibilities.

“Monsignor Murphy has been a very helpful moderator of the curia, but he wanted to go back to parish work,” said Sister Jennifer L. Votraw, diocesan chancellor. “Most diocesan priests do other work because they are asked by the bishop. They all love being in the parish and working with their flock. After a while, they wish they could go back and be a pastor and be with their people.”

Monsignor Murphy, who served as moderator of the curia since 1994, will be replaced by the Rev. Kevin J. O’Brien, who administers parishes in Brownville and Dexter, Sister Jennifer said.

“Thank God that our young priest Father Kevin O’Brien agreed to come in,” she said. “He is of course very competent and well-trained and hopefully will be able to pick up the reins.”

The moderator of the curia acts as a supervisor of all the diocesan offices and serves as a liaison between diocesan staff and Bishop Terry R. LaValley.

The move will take place in June, accompanied by several other personnel changes within the diocese. Father O’Brien will become the administrative pastor for parishes in Morristown. The current pastor in Morristown, the Rev. Albert J. Hauser, will move to Port Henry. The Rev. Scott D. Fobare will move from Port Henry to become the administrator of St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s parish in Massena, replacing the Rev. J. Michael Gaffney, who will move to the Brownville post, replacing Father O’Brien.

“Many times, one move necessitates many others,” Sister Jennifer said. “Basically, when we move our pastors around, it is a matter of good men needing a change, or sometimes it is a family issue. It is rarely a negative thing.”

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