Rector Msgr. James P. Moroney preaches in the chapel of St. John's Seminary in Brighton in 2016. It was announced Dec. 28 that Msgr. Moroney will be taking an assignment in his home diocese of Worcester effective Jan. 1, 2019. Pilot file photo/ Mark Labbe
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WORCESTER -- Worcester Bishop Robert McManus announced on Dec. 28 that St. John's Seminary rector Msgr. James P. Moroney is returning to serve in his home diocese effective Jan. 1.
Msgr. Moroney, who is a priest of the Diocese of Worcester, will become Interim Rector of St. Paul's Cathedral and the Worcester Diocese' Office for Divine Worship beginning with the New Year.
He has served as rector of St. John's Seminary in Boston for the past six years. In August, after two former seminarians made allegations of improper conduct at the seminary, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley asked Msgr. Moroney to go on sabbatical leave for the fall semester "in order that there can be a fully independent inquiry" into the seminary, the cardinal said at the time.
The Diocese of Worcester's statement announcing the new assignment noted that during the monsignor's tenure at St. John's Seminary, enrollment increased, the facilities and faculty were expanded and the seminary established a relationship with the Pontifical University of St. Thomas.
In the statement, Msgr. Moroney said that since his ordination almost 40 years ago, "my single goal has been to be of whatever service to the Church I can. I am deeply grateful for my time at Saint John's Seminary and look forward to serving the people of Worcester in the years to come."
Msgr. Moroney shared a copy of the diocese's announcement on the St. John's Seminary rector's blog, along with a final entry thanking his readers and reflecting on his departure.
"I look forward to this assignment with the same eager joy as I have for each new assignment I have received," Msgr. Moroney said in his blog.
"I am sad to leave Saint John's Seminary, but I will always carry the good men and women there in my heart and in my prayers," he said.
While reiterating that no accusations of misconduct have been made against him, he said that being on sabbatical had given him time to reflect on the situation at St. John's.
"I have come to the conclusion that many of the current administrative challenges and complex institutional relationships faced by Saint John's Seminary demand a fresh approach and a renewed energy. I will pray for my successor and I ask you to give him your unwavering support and every encouragement," Msgr. Moroney said.