Diocese Appoints a New Pastor
Priest: 'No Agenda' for Charlottesville

By Elizabeth Nelson
Richmond Times Dispatch
September 4, 2002

The Rev. Dennis Murphy said he will get to know his new parishioners before addressing the resignation of a priest who sexually abused a boy in the 1970s.

"I will do my job and try to be a good pastor," Murphy said from Providence, R.I., where he serves as a chaplain at the Veterans Administration Hospital. "I have no agenda at the moment except to go there, live with them and get to know them."

Murphy was appointed pastor of Holy Comforter Catholic Church in Charlottesville by the Most Rev. Walter F. Sullivan, bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, to which Murphy belongs. He replaces the Rev. Julian Goodman, who until August had been a pastor for three years at the church on East Jefferson Street.

Murphy will celebrate his first Masses at Holy Comforter this weekend, and move to town permanently Sept. 12, the weekend of the parish picnic.

"The parish picnic ... will give him a good chance to meet a cross-section of parishioners," said Frank McCarthy, a parish member and lector at Holy Comforter.

McCarthy said the change of pastors probably will not affect the parish much.

"I really would not anticipate sweeping changes in the parish," he said. "There are always changes when you have a new pastor, of one sort or another." When Goodman resigned, it brought a national scandal to a local level.

"It's a very serious problem and it's going to need a lot of good strong faith to get through it," McCarthy said. He said the parish council has had discussions on the issue and ad hoc groups have met to talk it over.

Goodman has not been accused of any misconduct while in Charlottesville.

He has admitted to and expressed regret for abusing James Kronzer while Kronzer was a 14-year-old student at St. John Vianney Seminary in Goochland County and later at St. Ann Church in Colonial Heights.

McCarthy said the other two Catholic parishes in Charlottesville have offered support and prayers.

"It has not been easy, as I think should be fairly obvious," McCarthy said. "But we're not the only ones faced with this problem."

Murphy moved to Providence seven years ago to care for his mother, after about 14 years serving Virginia churches and campus ministries and four years as a chaplain at Yale University.

"I've been on loan to the Military Archdiocese, who staffs all U.S. military bases and veteran hospitals," Murphy said. "I'm coming back because there's a need for [me] as a pastor in Charlottesville."

Murphy previously served as a pastor in Dinwiddie County, Lynchburg, Colonial Heights and Ashland. He also has served in campus ministries at Hollins University, Roanoke College, Randolph-Macon College in Ashland and as a resident fellow of Pierson College at Yale. He has a master's degree in divinity and a master of science degree in family development.


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