NEW YORK — Joseph Ganssle, OFM, 76, and Arthur D. Murray, OFM, 86, died on March 31 and April 2 respectively. Both were professed Franciscan friars for more than 55 years. Funeral services were held last week.
Joseph, a professed Franciscan friar for 55 years and a priest for almost 50 years, died at St. Anthony Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla. He had been in failing health for several months, suffering from leukemia.
Joseph, shown in left photo, was born May 15, 1931, in Brooklyn, N.Y., the son of George and Julia (née George) Ganssle. After attending Good Shepherd elementary school in Brooklyn, he entered St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., in 1945, where he studied for six years. On Aug. 11, 1951 he was received into the Franciscan Order in Holy Name Province at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., by Mathias Faust, OFM, being given the religious name of Louis Augustine.
During his novitiate year, Joseph discerned a call to serve in the Eastern Church, and so made first profession in Paterson in August 1952 as a member of the Our Lady of the Angels Byzantine Franciscan Custody. Residing at the custody’s friary in New Canaan, Conn., he studied for three years at St. Mary’s Seminary in Ferndale, Conn. He made his solemn profession at New Canaan on Sept. 17, 1955. However, at this time Louis petitioned to return to Holy Name Province and so continued his studies at Holy Name College, Washington, D.C. He was ordained to the priesthood at the Franciscan Monastery Church, Mount Saint Sepulchre, in Washington, April 25, 1958, by Archbishop Amleto Cicognani, Apostolic Delegate to the United States.
Following ordination, Joe spent a year of pastoral studies (1958 to 59) with the rest of his class at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, Mass. He then was assigned to the faculty of Bishop Timon High School in Buffalo, N.Y., for three years. In 1962, he volunteered for the Province’s mission in the state of Goias, Brazil, where he ministered for five years; it was at this time he resumed the use of his baptismal name. In 1967, he was assigned to St. Elizabeth Friary in Denver, Co., where he engaged in a wide variety of ministries over the years as a part-time hospital chaplain and assistant Army chaplain. He founded and was the president of Narc-Anon, Inc., a drug rehabilitation group. He returned East in 2004, ministering briefly at St. Francis Parish in Narrowsburg, NY, before retiring at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg in 2005.
After a Wake Service held for Joseph at the Brett Funeral Home in St. Petersburg on April 2, his body was transported to Butler, N.J, where a Vigil Service was held at St. Anthony Church on April 4. Dominic Monti, OFM, Vicar Provincial, presided at the Mass of Christian Burial there on April 5. Evan Greco, OFM, a classmate, preached the homily. Burial followed in the friars’ plot of Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Butler.
Arthur, a professed Franciscan friar for 63 years and a priest for 58 years, died at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood. He had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for the past several years.
He was born Jan. 2, 1922 in Jersey City, N.J, one of 12 children to Henry and Wilhelmina (Meyer) Murray, and was baptized Henry John Murray at St. Nicholas Church there on Jan. 15. He attended elementary school in Livingston, N.J, and graduated from Morristown (N.J) High School in 1939. He entered St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y, in 1940, where he studied for three years.
Henry Murray entered the Order at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J, in August 1943, and was received byBertrand Campbell, OFM, receiving the religious name of Arthur Donald, and made his first profession of vows there on August 14, 1944. He studied philosophy at St. Stephen’s Friary in Croghan, N.Y. from 1944 to 45 and at St. Anthony’s Friary in Butler from 1945-46, and then went on to Holy Name College, Washington, D.C., where he studied theology from 1946-50. Art made his solemn profession there on Sept.17, 1947 before Bertrand. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 11, 1949 in the chapel of Trinity College in Washington by Archbishop Amleto Cicognani, Apostolic Delegate to the United States.
Upon completion of his theological studies, Art returned to his native New Jersey as assistant pastor in Wanaque from 1950 to 52. He then served on the pastoral staff of St. Francis Church in New York from 1952-55. Arthur then went to New England, where he ministered from 1955 to 1964 as regional commissary of the Secular Franciscans, residing at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston and later at St. Francis Friary in Brookline. During these years he also was the curator of the vacation house at Quam Bonum in West Falmouth, where he created a welcoming environment for friars.
In 1964, Art moved south, where he was to spend the next four decades of his Franciscan life. From 1964 to 70, he was pastor of historic Immaculate Conception Church in Atlanta, Ga., where he oversaw an extensive renovation of the parish facilities. In 1970, he became chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital in Tampa, serving there until 1984, when he was assigned as pastor of Divine Savior Catholic Church in Tifton, Ga. Since he was beginning to experience health problems, Arthur requested retirement in 1987 at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg. However, still wishing to remain as active in ministry as possible, he sought work in 1988 as part-time chaplain of the Bay Pines Veterans Hospital where he served for 14 years. With his health declining, Arthur was assigned to Holy Name Friary, Ringwood, in 2004.
Art’s wake was held at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood on April 3. A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated there on April 4, at which Dominic Monti, presided. Francis Soucy, OFM, guardian of Holy Name Friary, preached the homily, and one of Art’s brothers, Joseph Murray offered a eulogy. Following cremation, Art’s ashes will be buried in God’s Acre cemetery in Ringwood. A photo of Arthur appears on the cover of the Spring 2008 issue of The Anthonian magazine.