Edward J. Murtaugh, O.S.A.

1874 – 1951 (March 5)

Edward James Murtaugh, son of Edward Murtaugh and Mary Seagraves, was born on September 30, 1874, in Mechanicsville, Lehigh Co., Pennsylvania. He was baptized in Saint Lawrence Church, Catasaqua, received his early education at the parochial school, graduated in 1891, and then entered Villanova College. In 1895, he received a Bachelor of Science degree from Villanova. On September 19, 1895, he entered the novitiate, professed first vows on September 20, 1896, and solemn vows three years later. He was ordained to the priesthood on September 23, 1899, by Patrick J. Ryan,  Archbishop of Philadelphia, in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. Father Murtaugh celebrated his first mass in St. Lawrence Church, Catasaqua, at which he gave first communion to his mother who had recently become a convert to Catholicism. 

Father Murtaugh’s first assignment was to Saint Mary’s Parish, Lawrence, Massachusetts. In 1900, he was transferred to Saint John the Baptist Parish, Schaghticoke, New York, and in 1903, to Saint James Parish, Carthage, N. Y. From 1900 to 1903, Father Murtaugh also served on the Mission Band. In 1904, he became an assistant at the parish of Saint Denis, Havertown, Pa. In May, 1905, he was transferred to Saint Augustine Parish, Philadelphia, and was an assistant there for sixteen years. In September 1921, he was appointed prior and pastor of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Jamaica, N. Y. The parish school and Sisters’ convent were built during his term of office, and blessed on May 19, 1929. In June 1932, Father Murtaugh returned to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and was appointed pastor of Saint Denis Church, Havertown. In June, 1938, he began six years of service as prior and pastor of Our Mother of Good Counsel Parish, Bryn Mawr, and in June, 1944, returned as pastor to Saint Denis Parish. 

This last assignment marked significant improvements to the parish of Saint Denis. Father Murtaugh had a new church built which was dedicated on July 8, 1948. An annex to the friary was completed in February, 1950. In addition to the ordinary duties of parish work, Father Murtaugh was elected definitor to the Provincial, Chairman of the Provincial Building Commission for many years, and Chaplain of the Jamaica Knights of Columbus, Council #337. 

On March 5, 1951, at the age of 77, Father Edward Murtaugh died at Saint. A Solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated in the church there with over 70 clergy in attendance. Interment was in the parish cemetery.