WASHINGTON - Father Paul K. Hurley, a priest of the
Archdiocese of Boston and a military chaplain for about 15
years, was confirmed March 27 as the U.S. Army chief of
chaplains in a voice vote by the U.S. Senate.
With the appointment comes a promotion in rank from colonel
to major general. Father Hurley, in a March 30 telephone
interview with Catholic News Service, said he expected the
formal promotion and installation ceremony to take place
sometime in May.
He will become the Army's 24th chief of chaplains. He will
succeed Msgr. Donald L. Rutherford, himself a major general
in the Army and a priest of the Diocese of Albany, New York,
who will soon retire after serving in the post since 2011.
Father Hurley, who said he's usually called "Chap" - short
for "Chaplain," especially to non-Catholic Army personnel -
is not only a graduate of St. John's Seminary in Boston, but
also of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
"After doing some time in a parish up in Boston, it was kind
of mutual thing that I eventually came back to the military
as a chaplain," said Father Hurley, who was ordained to the
priesthood in 2005.
Father Hurley currently serves as the command chaplain for
the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and
talked to CNS from Fort Bragg. During the interview, another
cellphone of his rang. "That's my life right now - phone
calls, emails, trying to get myself moved along," he said.
The nomination process for his upcoming position is quite
extensive, Father Hurley said. "There's a board that makes
selection and then that selection is vetted through a whole
series of channels, and then eventually there was a point in
time where I was aware of what was going on," Father Hurley
said. "But it's still not a done deal until the nomination is
completed and then it's sent over to the Senate for
confirmation. ... I didn't know too much previous to that
nomination coming up."
Father Hurley's previous chaplain assignments include
deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan - the latter where
Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, head of the U.S. Archdiocese
for the Military Services, met him last year during Holy Week
- as well as numerous stateside assignments as an Army
"He is both a fine priest and an excellent leader,"
Archbishop Broglio said in a March 28 statement.
Both Father Hurley and Msgr. Rutherford serve with
endorsement and faculties from the military archdiocese.
Father Hurley said he's eager to get to Washington so he can
get the lay of the land. "To be honest, I really need to get
up to the headquarters and find out more about what's going
on overall in order to do some sort of assessment in that
sense," he added. "Chaplains, no matter what time, or what
period, or what rank - or garrison or deployed - we're here
to take care of soldiers and families."
In his spare time, Father Hurley told CNS, "I'm a pretty
devout Boston sports fan. That usually occupies any of my
free time - following the Bruins or Red Sox or Patriots or