Pastors Who Served Visitation BVM Parish - Past and Present
Luke 1:74 “…to grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear”
Rev. Robert Gross - 2020 to Present - Installation 9/19/21
I told my 91 year old grandmother (who, by the way, still walks to church everyday up on Long Island) about two weeks ago or so that the Archdiocese was assigning me to be the parochial administrator of Visitation Parish in Trooper. She was so excited and said, “Oh! The Visitation of our Blessed Mother! Do you know the story of our Lady visiting Elizabeth?” I told her I didn’t (jokingly) and she went into the narrative of the Blessed Mother visiting Elizabeth and then she stopped herself and said, “Wait a second. You know this don’t you?” I sheepishly said, “Yes grandma, I know it.” We had a good laugh.
I love my family. I grew up on Long Island in New York with my loving parents and younger brother, who now is a police officer in NYC, and my older sister who is a teacher. I went to Catholic school all my life. Sports was a big part of my life as well. All sports. After I graduated from Loyola College in Maryland, I went to school to get my Masters of Social Work up on Long Island. I decided to move down to Philadelphia with my college roommates and started working as a youth minister at Saint Agnes Parish in West Chester. It was working there that God called me to be a priest and I entered Saint Charles Seminary. I was ordained in 2014 and was sent to Our Lady of Grace Parish in Penndel, PA for four years. I was then assigned parochial vicar of Saint Helena and have been stationed there for the last two years.
I am very excited to be sent to Visitation B.V.M. Parish. I have spoken with numerous priests who speak so highly of the parish: about its vibrancy, about its people’s generosity and love for the Church, about the people’s faith. It is incredibly humbling to be made the parochial administrator of Visitation and I look forward to being welcomed into the family of Visitation B.V.M. As I said, I love my family. Thank you for welcoming me into this family and I look forward to walking with you in faith together.
God Bless You,
Rev. Terry Weik – 2016 to 2020
I am delighted to be a part of Visitation BVM Parish and am honored to be your 4th pastor. I came here after 3 very happy years as a parish vicar at our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Doylestown, Bucks County.
I grew up in Bristol Borough in Lower Bucks County, and was ordained a priest in 1980 after spending 8 years at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary near the Overbrook section of Philly in Wynnewood. After my ordination, I spent 3 years at St. Robert Parish in Chester—now renamed for St. Katherine Drexel. It was there that I became part-time chaplain around the corner at St. James High School for Boys—where I met the Marianist brothers and priests—whom I would later formally join in 1988. After Chester, I spent 5 happy years at St. Andrew the Apostle parish in Drexel Hill before departing for religious life—where I would spend the next 25 years in a variety of ministries across the eastern half of the United States.
As a Marianist religious, I served in South Florida as a high school teacher and campus minister; Ohio as a novice in Dayton and later as a high school chaplain in Cincinnati; Maryland as a parish youth minister, young and young adult retreat house director, and some years later, as pastor at the same parish; and in Texas as a director of university campus ministry, and later as a doctoral student. About 5 years ago, after prayerful discernment, I decided to return home to Philly.
My three sisters all live in the Lower Bucks area with their husbands and families. I am blessed in having 11 nieces and nephews—ranging in age from the early 40’s down to 16 years of age. I enjoy when we all get together and it gets quite noisy!
I am an avid and long-suffering Eagles & Phillies fan, enjoy spending free time at my little getaway place in Barnegat, NJ - where I love cooking a good meal (a gift that religious life gave to me!) as well as playing with my 2 year old Chocolate Point Lynx Siamese cat named Pasha. Yes, he lives with me in my rectory quarters only—does not roam the house and accompanies me on weekly trips to the shore. My furry, long-legged feline friend certainly keeps me laughing—which is a very good thing for me.
I look forward to becoming acquainted with the members of our parish, to the point of being able to both know and love you. Together, we will do great things for God — and also for one another!
God Bless you,
Rev. Msgr. Thomas A. Murray – 1999 to 2016
Fr. Thomas A. Murray was born in Philadelphia on June 13, 1941. He attended La Salle College High School in Philadelphia and then entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, PA. He was ordained by the late John Cardinal Krol on May 18, 1968. Fr. Murray’s first assignment was to St. Stanislaus in Lansdale, PA, where he served as Assistant Pastor from 1968 to 1973.
For the next 26 years, Fr. Murray was assigned to various parishes throughout Philadelphia, spiritually guiding the people of the city. He served as Assistant Pastor of St. Anselon from 1973 to 1977, St. William Parish from 1977 to 1980, and St. Katherine of Siena from 1980 to 1985. He was then appointed Pastor of St. Ignatius Church in 1985 and later was named Pastor of St. Martin of Tours in 1991. Fr. Murray was bestowed the Papal Honor of Honorary Prelate on March 14, 1998.
Msgr. Murray’s service to the Archdiocese took a new direction when he left Philadelphia in June 1999 to become Pastor of Visitation B.V.M. Parish in Trooper, PA. He stressed the importance of stewardship in the life of our parish, and the need for each person to use their gifts of time, talent and treasure for the good of others. Msgr. Murray continues to guide us today, through prayer and service, as we travel our “Journey of Faith.”
Rev. Msgr. Francis J. Clemins – 1980 to 1999
Fr. Francis J. Clemins was born in Philadelphia on March 23, 1924. He attended Resurrection of Our Lord School and Northeast Catholic High School in Philadelphia before entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, PA. He was ordained on May 27, 1950.
The first priestly assignment for Fr. Clemins was as Associate Pastor at St. Ursula Parish in Fountain Hill, PA, from 1950 to 1957. Over the next 14 years, he was assigned to three other parishes in the Archdiocese. After St. Ursula, Fr. Clemins served at St. Joseph in Collingdale, PA, from 1957 to 1962, St. Francis de Sales in Philadelphia from 1962 to 1967, and then at Holy Child in Philadelphia from 1967 to 1971.
Fr. Clemins was then appointed Vice Chancellor for the Archdiocese and served in this position from 1971 to 1980. During this time, on September 24, 1973, he was named Honorary Prelate. Msgr. Clemins then became Pastor at Visitation B.V.M. in Trooper, PA, and served from 1980 to 1999. He was named Pastor Emeritus in 1999. Msgr. Clemins died at Villa St. Joseph in Darby, PA, on January 5, 2002.
Other assignments during Msgr. Clemins’ years of ministry included: Chaplain at West Catholic Boys High School in Philadelphia from 1962 to 1967, Associate Director for the Regional CYO from 1963 to 1966, Deputy for Temporary Administration at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Wynnewood, from 1981 to 1983 and Vicar Forane for Montgomery County from 1987 to 1989.
Msgr. Clemins held numerous positions throughout his priestly vocation, but his greatest love was being a Pastor. His gentleness, kindness and compassion will never be forgotten and remain a part of the Visitation family today.
Rev. Msgr. John C. Larkin – 1954 to 1980
Founding Pastor of Visitation B.V.M. Church, Fr. John C. Larkin was born in Branchdale, PA, on December 24, 1907. He attended Reilly Township High School in Branchdale, and after working two years, prepared for the priesthood at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, PA. After being ordained on May 22, 1937, Fr. Larkin’s first assignment as Assistant Pastor was at Holy Rosary Church in Reading, PA, and then at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Philadelphia, PA. He served there from 1938 until he entered the U.S. Navy as chaplain in September, 1941. As chaplain, Fr. Larkin served with the Second Marine Division in the Pacific Theater of Operations for three years and later was assigned to Manhattan Beach, NY. He returned to the Pacific Theater with duty aboard the USS St. Paul until the end of World War II. He returned briefly to our Lady of Mt. Carmel and later was assigned to the Church of the Visitation B.V.M. in Philadelphia.
With the founding of the new Visitation B.V.M. Church in Trooper, PA, he was named Pastor in 1954 by the late Most Rev. John F. O’Hara, Archbishop of Philadelphia. On September 24, 1973, Fr. Larkin was named Honorary Prelate. He remained with us at Visitation until his death on August 29, 1980.
Msgr. Larkin served as chaplain of The Triangle Club of Central Montgomery County, an organization dedicated to Sports Scholarship service, since its inception in 1963. He also served on the board of governors of admissions for the Annapolis Naval Academy from 1958 to 1972.
Msgr. Larkin is remembered through the Larkin Center by his total dedication to the growth and development of the spiritual and material welfare of his parishioners.