Tributes have been paid to Bishop Ian Murray, former Bishop of Argyll & the Isles, who died 0n Friday 22 January, aged 83.
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said:
“On behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland I would like to offer Bishop Murray’s family our deepest and most prayerful sympathies. During his active years as a bishop, Ian Murray played a full part in the life and work of the Bishops’ Conference contributing with humanity, faith and humour to everything that we did. He will be sorely missed. May God rest his generous soul.”
The Scottish Bishops are currently gathered in session at the Royal Scots College in Salamanca, Spain, an institution to which Bishop Murray had a lifelong bond as both student and, subsequently, rector. They celebrated a Mass for him in the College this morning.
“When we heard the sad news this afternoon, Archbishop Tartaglia immediately halted proceedings and we paused to pray for the repose of Bishop Murray’s soul,” said Archbishop Leo Cushley.
“Ian Murray was a happy priest, a good bishop and a father to his people with a particular corner of his heart for the students of the Royal Scots College in Spain.”
Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell, who is also a former Rector of the Royal Scots College and former Bishop of Argyll & the Isles, said, “We will remember Bishop Murray with great fondness both as Emeritus Bishop of Argyll & the Isles and also his wonderful contribution to the Royal Scots College in Spain. We ask God to grant him eternal rest after his fruitful and happy ministry as a priest and bishop in Scotland – and we appreciate all that he did for the Church in our country over the past 60 years of his priesthood.”
Monsignor James MacNeil, Diocesan Administrator of Argyll & the Isles said, “We have very fond memories of Bishop Ian and are very sad to hear the news of his death. The priests and people of the diocese will make heartfelt prayers for the repose of his soul with gratitude to God for his service and his leadership in our diocese.”
The new Bishop of Argyll & the Isles Bishop-elect Brian McGee said, “It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Bishop Ian Murray, I will pray for the repose of his soul while I am in Rome and join with so many others across Scotland, mourning his loss.”
The date of Bishop Murray’s funeral will be advised in due course.
Ian Murray was born in Lennoxtown, Dunbartonshire, on 15 December 1932, the eldest of the four children of John and Margaret Murray. He began his education at St Machan’s Primary School in Lennoxtown before moving onto St Ninian’s High School in Kirkintilloch in 1944. Two years later he began life as a seminarian at St Mary’s College, Blairs, Aberdeenshire.
In 1950, Ian Murray was one of a group of eleven students selected by the bishops of Scotland to reopen the Real Colegio de Escoceses or Royal Scots College in Valladolid which had been closed since the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936.
For the next six years he was a student of the Scots College, attending classes at a local seminary. Ian Murray was ordained in the college chapel on 17 March 1956 by Bishop Joseph McGee, himself a former student of the college.
Returning to the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh, Fr Murray was initially appointed to St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh by Archbishop Gordon Gray. Three months later he was appointed curate in St Kenneth’s, Lochore, which was then a thriving mining village.
After a spell as curate in St Columba’s in Newington, he returned to the Royal Scots College in Valladolid in 1963 as Vice-Rector.
In 1970, Fr Ian Murray then become the first resident Catholic chaplain of the recently founded University of Stirling. There he remained for eight years. Thereafter, he served in Our Lady and St Bride’s, Cowdenbeath, and St Ninian’s, Restalrig.
In 1987 he returned to Spain, this time as Rector of the Royal Scots College. His first major task was to negotiate the transfer of the college to its present site in Salamanca. This he did successfully in 1988.
Upon returning to Scotland in 1994, Fr Murray served in Galashiels and then as parish priest of both Slamannan and Falkirk as well as being Vicar General of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh.
In 1999 Ian Murray was nominated the 9th Bishop of Argyll & the Isles and ordained on 7 December, the feast of St Ambrose, Patron of the Royal Scots College. He retired in December 2008.
Bishop Ian Murray spent his latter years in residence at St Columba’s in Newington and then St Mary’s Metropolitan Cathedral – back where he began in priestly ministry nearly 60 years prior – before finding a new home at St Joseph’s House under the gentle care of the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Right Reverend Bishop Ian Murray (1932-2016):
St Mary’s Metropolitan Cathedral, Edinburgh 1956
St Kenneth, Lochore 1956-61
Vice-Rector, Royal Scots College, Spain 1963-70
Chaplain, University of Stirling 1970-78
Our Lady & St Bride, Cowdenbeath 1978-85
St Ninian, Restalrig 1985-87
Rector, Royal Scots College, Spain 1987-94
Our Lady & St Andrew, Galashiels 1994-96
St Mary, Slamannan & St Francis Xavier, Falkirk 1996-99
Bishop of Argyll & the Isles 1999-2008