Fr John Murphy obituary: Priest who truly cared for his community

Lives Lost to Covid-19: ‘John radiated a rare and special quality that drew people toward him’

Fr John Murphy: A deeply spiritual man who cherished his parishioners and the rhythm of pastoral ministry

Fr John Murphy: A deeply spiritual man who cherished his parishioners and the rhythm of pastoral ministry

 

This article is one of a series about people who have died with coronavirus in Ireland and among the diaspora. Read more at irishtimes.com/covid-19-lives-lost. If you would like a friend or family member included in the series, please email liveslost@irishtimes.com

Fr John Murphy
1926-2020

John Murphy was born on April 1st, 1926 in Termonfeckin, Co Louth – “the cultural capital of the world”, as he himself would say. After his secondary education was completed, he entered the Oblate Novitiate in Cahermoyle, Co Limerick in September 1944.

He made his final profession as a missionary oblate of Mary Immaculate at the Oblate Scholasticate, Piltown, Co Kilkenny in 1948, and was ordained a priest there in 1951.

After ordination, he was appointed to parish ministry at Corpus Christi parish, Leeds. His next parish appointment was to St Anne’s parish, Birmingham. After 12 years (1971-85) of getting to know parish communities in every corner of Ireland, he was appointed parish priest to Our Lady of Lourdes & St Bernadette parish, Kingswood, Bristol (1985-‘89).

In 1997, Fr Murphy came back to pastoral ministry, to St Anne’s parish, Rock Ferry (1997-2002) where he and Ray Warren were the Oblate community.

His greatest enjoyment was caring for the flowers and plants in the garden

A deeply spiritual man, Fr Murphy cherished his parishioners and the rhythm of pastoral ministry. People appreciated his open and caring presence and his ready availability to meet the endless demands of parish ministry.

Ray Warren says: “John radiated a rare and special quality that drew people toward him. He was, in a gospel sense, ‘childlike’, loving God as a young child loves a parent.

“This was the love that came through in his preaching and his encounters with people pastorally or socially. His natural warmth and kindness were particularly evident in his pastoral care of sick and housebound people. John loved the natural world and nature’s cycle.

“His greatest enjoyment was caring for the flowers and plants in the garden or tending to a patch of ground that he cultivated for vegetables, his trusted dog Sam by his side.”

Covid-19: Lives Lost

READ MORE