HARRISBURG - Superior Court Judge Maureen Lally-Green announced yesterday that she would retire from the bench at the end of July.

Lally-Green, 59, who has served on the 15-member Superior Court since June 1998, will take a position with the Diocese of Pittsburgh, where she will serve as director of the new Office for Church Relations. Her seat will be filled, along with three other vacancies on the court, in the November general election.

Lally-Green, a Republican from Butler County, said it was a difficult decision to leave "because it has been such an honor to serve on one of the best appellate courts in the nation for all of these years."

Superior Court President Judge Kate Ford Elliott said Lally-Green would be greatly missed. "Her scholarship, integrity, and wisdom have enhanced our court and provided great service to the citizens of Pennsylvania," she said. - Mario F. Cattabiani