Published June 18, 2019
ATLANTA—Father Richard Byrne Morrow of Atlanta died Saturday, June 15. He was 89 years old.
Father Morrow was one of the longest-serving priests in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. He was ordained to the priesthood at St. Augustine’s Cathedral, Bridgeport, Connecticut on May 19, 1955.
A native of Stamford, Connecticut, he arrived to serve in Georgia when the Catholic community was so small the Diocese of Savannah-Atlanta covered the state. He was one of some 40 diocesan priests in Georgia in 1955. When the Atlanta diocese was created in 1956, he remained to serve in the 69 counties of the archdiocese. Today, there are 187 priests.
He loved serving the faithful as a priest. He’s known to have said how lucky he felt to minister to people both in celebration and in times of need.
Father Morrow’s fingerprints can be found on many places around the Atlanta region, but especially at the seven Catholic parishes where he served as pastor. He helped start Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Carrollton, and St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Smyrna.
However, Father Morrow is known less for building projects and more for his outreach to people, from bedside visits with patients at hospitals to walking around neighborhoods and stopping in to visit parishioners at their homes.
His first assignment in 1955 was as a parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Atlanta. During that time he also served as chaplain to the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Good Shepherd Church in Cumming was Father Morrow’s last full-time pastorate. He also served at churches in Cedartown, Hapeville and Buford.
He retired in 1997, but continued celebrating Mass and the sacraments for the Catholic community. For the past 22 years, he lived among the priests at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta.
He was preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Kathleen Morrow. He is survived by a brother, Neil, and sister-in-law, Marianna, of Wilmington, North Carolina, and many members of his extended family.
His remains will be received at the Cathedral of Christ the King, 2699 Peachtree Road, NE, Atlanta, Monday, June 24 at 4 p.m. There will be a vigil service at 7 p.m. with prayers said from the Office of the Dead. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 25. Burial will be at Arlington Memorial Park in Sandy Springs following the Mass.
Donations in memory of Father Morrow, who was a strong supporter of Catholic education, may be made to Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School, Attn: Camille Naughton, 222 Piedmont Ave., NE, Atlanta, GA 30308. Memorial gifts may also be made to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, 2625 Highway 212 SW, Conyers, GA 30094-4044.