Paralyzed priest shows off miracle, walks into Md. church

Published On: Dec 05 2012 05:32:13 AM HST

Hundreds of people packed Saint Mary's Church in Annapolis on Monday night to greet an old friend who shared a miracle of his own during what many consider to be the season of miracles.

Father John Murray, who was visiting from Brooklyn, N.Y., walked down the church's aisle Monday night, three decades after first serving as its pastor and two years after being told he would never walk again.

"I'm a man of faith, a man who believes miracles are possible," Murray told 11 News' Kate Amara. "I said, 'I'm going to pray for a miracle.'"

And he said that's what he got.

"Without a doubt," he said.

In the summer of 2010, Murray tripped on a boardwalk on the Jersey Shore and broke his neck. He woke up after a week in a coma and was paralyzed from the chest down.

"It was the most depressing day of my life," he said.

Murray said he started praying to the Rev. Francis Xavier Seelos, a beatified Catholic priest who, during the Civil War, was also a pastor at Saint Mary's. Six months later, Murray said he felt movement in his foot.

"I was filled with hope. That was a red letter day -- a star day for me," he said.

After that came a walker and crutches, then a cane.

"I went back to visit the boardwalk where I fell (last month). I knew the exact spot and, praise God, it was blown away. Thank you, (Hurricane) Sandy," he joked.

Murray's wit and optimism are gifts put to good use in his job as a traveling preacher for the Catholic Church. It brought him back to Saint Mary's for three advent talks this week, aiming to inspire others with his story about the power of hope.

"I would say the power of grace, and grace brings with it positive thinking, perseverance and courage," Murray said. "Those are some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and I believe those gifts came to me, and those gifts can come to anyone who asks for them."

Murray talks will continue Tuesday and Wednesday night from 7-8 p.m. at Saint Mary's. 


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