Rev. Michael M. Garry—Assignment Record

Case Summary: From Ireland. Ordained in Rome before World War II. May have started as a Benedictine. Worked his first two years of priesthood in Manchester, England prior to arrival in the U.S., due to complications of WWII. Worked in the Sacramento diocese and Newark archdiocese before Trenton. Accused by a woman of repeatedly molesting and stalking her for three years in the late 1950s-early 1960s, beginning when she was age 11 and Garry was assigned to St. Mark's in Sea Girt, NJ. Confession was allegedly used in the abuse, and included digital penetration. Stalking and abuse allegedly continued after reassignment. Retired in 1981. Died December 12, 1988. Settlement in December 2019 in the low six figures in case of abuse of two girls, ages 12 and 9, beginning in 1960 and 1961.

 Ordained: prior to 1939
 Died: 1988

Start Stop Parish Town
Position Notes
   1940   Manchester   England   From Ireland. Spent his first two years of priesthood in Manchester, England.      
1940 1944 Absent on Leave  
  Indexed and listed in the Directory as a priest of the Sacramento diocese.
1944 1947 St. Elizabeth's Linden
2/2, 3/3, 2/3.

Newark archdiocese. In 1945-1946, the parish school had 307 boys and 282 girls.

For these years, Garry also continues to be listed as on leave from the Sacramento diocese. The 1945 Directory lists him in Linden as a Benedictine priest (O.S.B.).

1947 1950 Absent on Leave  
  Indexed and listed in the Directory as a priest of the Sacramento diocese.
1950 1955 St. Denis Manasquan

2/2. Priests were Revs. John F. Welsh and Garry.

In the 1951 and 1952 Directory, Garry is indexed as a Sacramento priest on leave in the Trenton diocese. Afterward, he is listed as a Trenton priest.

In the Trenton diocese.
1950 1953 Station Sea Girt
2/2. In the Trenton diocese. Attended from St. Denis.
1950 1955 Station Brielle
2/2. In the Trenton diocese. Attended from St. Denis.
1950 1955 Summer Chapel Manasquan Beach
2/2. In the Trenton diocese. Attended from St. Denis.
1955 1957 St. James the Less Jamesburg
2/2. In the Trenton diocese.
1955 1957 St. Cecilia's Monmouth Junction
2/2. In the Trenton diocese. Mission attended from St. James.
1955 1957 Station Prospect Plains
2/2. In the Trenton diocese. Attended from St. James.
1955 1957 State Home for Boys Jamesburg
2/2. In the Trenton diocese. Station attended from St. James.
1957 1959 St. Magdalene de'Pazzi Flemington
2/2. Priests were Msgr. William A. Margerum and Rev. Michael M. Garry. Margerum was moderator of Diocesan Conferences, headed the Diocesan Council of Vigilance, and was one of two Censores Librorum. In the Trenton diocese. The parish ran a Regional Catechetical School staffed by 4 nuns.
1959 6/3/60 St. Mark's

Sea Girt

• Accused of repeatedly molesting a girl here, beginning when she was 11 years old. See Rigert, Irish Tragedy.

2/2. Priests were Msgr. Francis M.J. Thornton and Rev. Michael M. Garry. Thornton was Director of Catholic Hospitals and Promoter of Justice. In the Trenton diocese. A local newspaper article states that Garry was the administrator of the parish.
6/3/60 9/16/60 St. Francis of Assisium Trenton
Apparently 3/3. Pastor was Francis J. Yunger, who was named monsignor in 1960. In the Trenton diocese. The parish school had 151 pupils in 1959-1960. This brief assignment is not listed in the Directory, but its start and stop dates are noted in a local newspaper.
1960 1962 Ascension

Bradley Beach

• While at this parish, accused of stalking and continuing to molest the girl from Sea Girt, at her school, St. Catherine's in Spring Lake NJ, and elsewhere.

2/2. Priests were Msgr. John J. O'Hara and Rev. Michael M. Garry. In the Trenton diocese.
1962 1968 St. Jude's Blairstown
1/1. In the Trenton diocese.
1968 1981 St. Jerome's West Long Branch
1/2, 1/1. Priests were Garry and Rev. Francis J. Saflarske, and then John V. Polyak. Garry became sole priest in 1973. In the Trenton diocese. Parish school had 374 students in 1968-1969. In 1978, enrollment dropped from 327 to 190.
1981 1988 Retired  
  In the Trenton diocese. Address was c/o Cooper Village, Long Branch NJ. See article, which also states that Garry acted for 14 years as a diocesan recruiter of priests from Ireland, and "brought back" more than 30 priests to New Jersey.
12/11/88   Died




- Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy & Sons, 1941-1989.
- Retiring Rev. Garry Will Be Honored Tonight, by Jon Healey, Daily Register, April 24, 1981
- Abuse Victims Take Case to Public, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, May 10, 2002
- Irish Tragedy, by Joe Rigert (Baltimore, Md.: Crossland Press, 2008), pp. 30-31.
- Retiring Rev. Garry will be honored tonight, By John Healy, The Daily Register, April 24, 1981 


Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Garry's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory and the media with the allegation against him as it is reported in the media and described in a book. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on June 26, 2021.