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Rev. John Arthur Orr

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Born in the Archdiocese of Miami on the feast day of Saint Juan Diego (9 December).

Youngest of three siblings.  His sister studied architecture and his brother business.  His late father studied economics and business, working as a banker.  His late mother studied design and was widowed twice.  Father Orr was signed up for school on the day he was born: 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), WGU Tennessee (MBA ‘19).

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 Snwers 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); The New Evangelization: Pastoral Reflections on the Litanies of the Sared Heart and of Our Lady (2021); Conscience in Veritatis Splendor (2022).  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 edited Commentaries on Fides et ratio in L’Osservatore Romano (2021).  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 has been a swimmer and tennis player.  
As an undergraduate Father Orr joined the Knights of Columbus in 1987 and has been a charter member of several councils.  He served as the Tennessee State Chaplain for the Past State Deputies Steve Comm and Tracy Staller.

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