Boston Priest Named U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains

by Izzy Mendiola


On March 27, 2015, the U.S. Senate voted for and confirmed Father Paul K. Hurley as the U.S. Army chief of chaplains. Father Hurley has been a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and a military chaplain for the past 15 years. The formal promotion and installation ceremony will occur in May.


With Father Hurley’s appointment as the U.S. Army chief of chaplains comes a promotion in rank from colonel to major general. He will be the Army’s 24th chief of chaplains, following Msgr. Donald L. Rutherford, a major general and a priest of the Diocese of Albany, New York.

In a phone interview with Catholic News Service, Father Hurley said, “After doing some time in a parish up in Boston, it was kind of A mutual thing that I eventually came back to the military as chaplain.”


He feels loyalty to Boston as a graduate from St. John’s Seminary in Boston, but his loyalty to the military is just as strong, as a graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Currently, Father Hurley is serving as the command chaplain for the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.


According to Father Hurley, the nomination process has been quite the whirlwind of events, many of which he was unaware. As he explains, “There’s a board that makes selection and then that selection is vetted through a whole series of channels, and then eventually there was a point in time here I was aware of what was going on. But its still not a done deal until the nomination is completed and then it’s send over to the Senate for confirmation…I didn’t know too much previous to that nomination coming up.”


However, Father Hurley is not allowing himself to become overwhelmed; he is ready to get to work. He says, “To be honest, I really need to get up to the headquarters and find out more about what’s going on overall in order to do some sort of assessment in that sense.” And he is keeping his main purpose in his sight: “Chaplains, no matter what time, or what period, or what rank…we’re here to take care of soldiers and families.”


Despite Father Hurley’s seriousness in regards to his work, he does enjoy his downtime. “I’m a pretty devout Boston Sports fan,” he admits. “That usually occupies any of my free time—following the Bruins or Red Sox or Patriots or whatever.”


Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, head of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services and a Boston College alumnus, met Father Hurley last year during Holy Week in Afghanistan. He has confidence in Father Hurley’s abilities. “He is both a fine priest and an excellent leader,” Archbishop Broglio said about Father Hurley in a statement on March 28.

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