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Rev Dr John Arthur Orr

Fr John Orr.jpg

Biographical Information

Father Orr was born in the Archdiocese of Miami on the feast day of Saint Juan Diego (9 Dec).  He is the youngest of three children.  His sister studied architecture and his brother business.  Father Orr’s mother is a widow, twice.  His father was a banker.  On the day he was born, Father Orr’s father signed him up for school.  Assumption Montessori, Saint Stephen’s, Saint Hugh, Christopher Columbus HS, Catholic University of America (PhB ’91), Kenrick School of Theology (MDiv, MA ’01), Maryvale Institute-Liverpool Hope (PhD ’14). 


Father Orr’s Baptism, Confirmation and First Holy Communion are all recorded in the parish register of Saint Hugh in the Archdiocese of Miami.  He was ordained a transitional Deacon in the Jubilee 2000 at St. Therese Catholic Church in Cleveland, TN and a Priest at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Knoxville in 2001, both by now Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz.  Father Orr has served at Saints Peter and Paul in Chattanooga (as a Deacon), All Saints and Holy Ghost both in Knoxville as Associate, and Pastor at St. Therese in Clinton, at St. Joseph the Worker in Madisonville, and now at St. Mary in Athens.  For four years Father Orr was a resident at Saint John Neumann Catholic Church in Farragut, TN and helped to design and build the new church.  For six years Father Orr served as Spiritual Director and Teacher at Knoxville Catholic High School, teaching freshmen, juniors and seniors basic doctrine, morals, vocations, ecumenism, readings in philosophy and music appreciation. 


Father Orr has published several books over the years:  The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the Interpretation of Sacred Scripture (2011); Dogmatic Questions and Answers for the Year of Faith (2012); The New Evangelization:  Pastoral Reflections on the Creed (2013); Reason in Wojtyla / John Paul II (2014); The New Evangelization:  Pastoral Reflections on the Sacraments (2015); The New Evangelization:  Pastoral Reflections on the Commandments (2016); The New Evangelization:  Pastoral Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer and the Rosary (2017).  With colleagues from the United Kingdom, Father Orr produced “The Philosophical Magisterium of John Paul II Implicit in Laudato si’” and edited a volume of Reflections on Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato si’ (2017).  Father Orr co-authored with Barbara Murphy “Catholic Church music today in theory and practice I-II” Sacred Music 131:4 (Winter 2004) 5-19; 132:1 (Spring 2005) 5-19.


As a youth Father Orr participated in the Boy Scouts of America and received the rank of Eagle Scout and the Vigil Honor of the Order of the Arrow, camping and hiking in South Florida.  For exercise Father Orr swims.  In his youth he played a lot of tennis.  As an undergraduate Father Orr joined the Knights of Columbus in 1987 and has been a charter member of several councils.  He currently serves as the Tennessee State Chaplain.

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