Msgr. James Molloy, pastor of St. Agnes Catholic Church

Posted: March 14, 2006

Msgr. James E. Molloy, 60, pastor of St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church in Sellersville and former administrator for the Philadelphia Archdiocese, died Tuesday of apparent heart-related causes at St. Agnes rectory.

Msgr. Molloy had been pastor at St. Agnes since 1999. He had previously been rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary for five years, served as assistant vicar for administration for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for six years, and been assistant director and then director of the Archdiocesan Family Life Office from 1979 to 1988.

In 1981, he explained to a reporter the reasons the archdiocese was initiating policies requiring pre-marriage instructions for Catholic couples. The overall divorce rate he said, was a staggering 50 percent across the country. Ninety-five percent of the couples who came in to be married in the Archdiocese "have what it takes," he said; "they don't have any serious obstacles that would mean a postponement. But we're saying it's necessary to prepare, to have time for discussion and reflection."

Msgr. Molloy grew up in Lansdowne and graduated from Monsignor Bonner High School in Drexel Hill before entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood.

After his ordination in 1972, he assisted pastors at Holy Cross and Stella Maris Churches in Philadelphia and then taught religion at Cardinal O'Hara High School in Springfield, Delaware County, before joining the Family Life Office.

He loved working with people at St. Agnes and had a good sense of humor, said Father Stephen J. Dougherty, a friend for 40 years. Msgr. Molloy loved music from the classics to classic rock, Dougherty said, and vacations in the Poconos. Msgr. Molloy is survived by sisters Mary Barlow and Elizabeth; a brother, William; and six nieces and nephews.

A Funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. today at St. Agnes Church, 445 N. Main St., Sellersville. Burial will be in St. Agnes Cemetery.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.

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