Saint Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church is administered by the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, a religious order founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola. Our Jesuits are: Fr. Phil Hurley S.J. (pastor), Fr. Bruce Bavinger S.J., and Fr. Peter Murray S.J.
Fr. Hurley is a native of Sykesville, Maryland. He graduated from Loyola University Maryland in 1996 where he studied theology, biology, and Spanish. He entered the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus in 1997. After philosophy studies at St. Louis University, he joined the faculty at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. where he taught ethics and philosophy and helped in coaching and campus ministry. Fr. Hurley completed theology studies at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California and was ordained a priest in 2008.
After serving for a year as a parochial vicar at Old St. Joseph’s Church in Philadelphia, he became the youth and young adult director of the national office of the Apostleship of Prayer based in Milwaukee. While at the AoP he helped to form the Hearts on Fire young adult retreat program, which is based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and is now active throughout the US and Canada. Fr. Hurley speaks Spanish and from the fall of 2013 through 2014 was in Chile for tertianship, the last stage of Jesuit formation before taking final vows in the order. He professed his final vows at the 5:30pm Mass at Saint Raphael Catholic Church on April 26, 2015.
Fr. Bavinger comes from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and after graduating from Georgetown University with a major in English, he entered the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus in 1969. During his two-year novitiate, Fr. Bavinger spent three months at a Jesuit parish in Guatemala City, Guatemala. This was his first longer experience in Hispanic culture. After completing philosophy studies at Boston College, Fr. Bavinger did a two-year regency at the Nativity School in lower eastside Manhattan in New York, a school primarily for Puerto Rican children. He also studied at Columbia University in Urban Education, thinking that he would be teaching in urban areas for much of his Jesuit life. He studied theology at the Jesuit School of Theology in Chicago (now closed) and was ordained in 1978.
During theology, Fr. Bavinger was drawn to the African American experience and to ministry with adults. With that, rather than doing the teaching he had been expecting to do, he chose to work in pastoral ministries, and has been there ever since ordination. Fr. Bavinger has spent his priestly life largely in Jesuit parishes which are at least in part African American. His first parish was the Church of the Gesu in Philadelphia, where he went as part of a new team for that parish. In 1984 Fr. Bruce professed his Final Vows in Philadelphia. After seven years, he became pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Durham, an historically African American parish, where he spent eleven years. His next assignment was for nearly eight years as pastor of the St. Aloysius Church in Washington, D.C. . And then for the next five years, Fr. Bavinger worked in full-time Hispanic ministry, living in the diocesan parish of St. Therese in Wilson, and ministering there, in Rocky Mount and in Roanoke Rapids.
Fr. Bavinger’s return to involvement with the Hispanic community was caused in good part by the arrival around 1990 of many Hispanics, mostly Mexican, in the Durham area while he was at Holy Cross. There were no Masses being offered in Spanish at the time, and so Fr. Bavinger began working in the Hispanic community, with the assistance of the Holy Cross parishioners.
Father is available for spiritual direction, enjoys political commentary, wants to see the planet taken care of, and occasionally gets into a good poem.
Fr. Peter Murray, S.J.
Fr. Murray grew up in Albany, NY and entered the Society of Jesus in 1959 after graduating from Vincentian Catholic High School. After many years of study and various apostolic experiences, Peter was ordained in 1972. His first assignment as a priest was to Mount Manresa, a Retreat center on Staten Island, New York where he led youth and individually directed retreats. A new interest in Social justice and spirituality was gaining ground in that era, and Peter took a keen interest in its development.
In 1974, Fr. Peter was sent to Bangalore, India, to complete his training as a Jesuit. He was what is called a “Jesuit Tertian” while in India, and during the seven months he was living there, found much cultural, spiritual and social wealth in that vast country. He also learned something about Hinduism and eastern forms of prayer. After returning from India, Fr. Peter earned his D. Min degree from Andover-Newton Theological School in 1976.
Several years of high school teaching followed, and after that, Fr. Peter discerned a call to a completely different area of ministry: hospital Pastoral Care. Peter moved into that ministry in 1981, and remained active in it for about 20 years (with an interlude of Urban parish work, from 1988-92) achieving much apostolic satisfaction in working with the sick and with families of dying patients— along with ministry among staff members and volunteers.
In 2002, after finishing a six-months sabbatical, Fr. Peter was assigned to work at the Shrine of the Jesuit Martyrs in Auriesville, New York. He was there until 2011, and for seven of those years was director of the shrine. He worked together with many lay people & priests to foster devotion to the Jesuit Martyrs and St. Kateri Tekakwitha, helped build-up vocations, and worked with pilgrims and retreats.
Peter moved to the diocese of Buffalo, NY in 2011 and served as a parochial vicar at Saint Michael’s Jesuit downtown church. He has also done some Jail ministry in Buffalo, and helped out at a number of Catholic parishes and centers, with special service being given to Saint Jude’s Church in North Tonawanda. He is hopeful that his new work as Pastoral associate in the diocese of Raleigh will enable him to continue using his gifts for the Kingdom of Christ.