Br. William Martyn, SA
(August 23, 1940 – August 28, 2023)
Throughout his years as an Atonement Friar, Brother William Martyn, SA, wore many hats. He was a champion for ecumenism and interreligious affairs, an expert in communications and media and shared the message of At-One-Ment on the Holy Mountain of Graymoor and beyond.
On Monday, August 28, Brother Martyn entered into Eternal Life, five days after his 83rd birthday.
Brother Martyn was born on August 23, 1940 in Boston, Massachusetts. He entered the Society of the Atonement on December 2, 1957, and received his habit on July 25, 1958. He professed his first vows on July 26, 1960, and his final vows exactly five years later. As a junior Brother, he served as the infirmarian at St. Paul’s Friary and St. Pius X Seminary at Graymoor.
In October of 1967, Brother Martyn journeyed to Jatai, Goias, Brazil. Serving in the diocese there, he was involved in health care teaching and Christian education for six years. He continued his studies when he returned to the United States in 1973, first at Fordham University, then at the University of Dayton. From there, Brother Martyn went to the University of Oklahoma, where he was involved in campus ministry.
After his work in Oklahoma, Brother Martyn was assigned to the Chapel of Our Savior in Brockton, Massachusetts. He taught religious classes for adults and counseled couples, helping prepare them for marriage. After the Friars’ General Chapter in 1981, Brother Martyn was assigned to the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute. He eventually became the director of GEII and was responsible for the various activities of the institute and its publications.
In 1984, the Archdiocese of New York invited Brother Martyn to serve as its Director of the Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. In that role, he was co-chair of dialogue among several denominations of the Christian faith.
During that time, he was also asked to serve as an advisor to the Bishops Conference’s Committee on Catholic Jewish relations and the Bishops Consultation with the Synagogue Council of America. He also taught at the Catechetical Institute and Permanent Deacons Program in Yonkers and Esopus, and was a frequent guest on radio and television programs. He penned a monthly column on ecumenism and interreligious affairs for the archdiocesan’s “Clergy Report,” as well as many other local and national journals.
In 1995, Brother Martyn was appointed Procurator General of the Friars of the Atonement to the Holy See. Serving in Rome, he received a papal appointment to serve as a consultant to the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jewish Faith.
Three years later, Brother Martyn accepted a position at Ramapo College, working as associate director of interreligious understanding. From there, he took up an interest in web designing, and served as the Friars’ web designer in 2001. Years later, he took up website and communications duty at Graymoor. In between, he served in several ecumenical director roles across the northeast.
On June 24, 2017, Brother Martyn celebrated his Diamond Jubilee – 60 years as a Franciscan Friar of the Atonement.
Brother Martyn is survived by his brothers, Jim and Frank, and is predeceased by his parents, William and Mary. A wake service will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 7 at the Chapel of St. Anthony at the St. Paul Friary at Graymoor.
A Mass of Christian burial will take place Friday, September 8 at 10 a.m., also to be held at the Chapel of St. Anthony at the St. Paul Friary at Graymoor. Interment in the Friars’ cemetery will immediately follow.