Friday, December 27, 2013

Fr. Arthur Murphy

Remembering a Holy Priest and a Good Friend
Children's Rosary August 12th 2012
Fr. Murphy is pictured in the middle in the wheelchair

Fr. Murphy passed away December 20th 2013.  He was the retired pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in West Hartford, Connecticut.  Fr. Moran who has spent many years together with Fr. Murphy at our parish shared that upon receiving news of His passing the next song to come on the radio was: I'll be Home for Christmas.  Yes, there were many special things about the timing of his passing.  His brother shared during the funeral that 20 years earlier to the day and at the exact same hour Fr. Murphy's mother had been laid to rest.  

Fr. Murphy was a very special priest.  He had served the Church as a priest for over 50 years.  He had a wonderful peace and was remembered for his unending patience.  This is a virtue I find very hard to exemplify so to see it so beautifully in action is truly an inspiration. Fr. Murphy's call for help for our parish several years ago was the call that brought the Children's Rosary into existence.  He came before parishioners asking for help for the parish as it was in a financial crisis.  After one request from the altar and still the difficult times persisted in humility he returned again asking for our help.  Hearing the request a second time, in prayer an inspiration came to bring our children to prayer for our parish.  A letter requesting permission for the children to meet was sent to Fr. Murphy and he responded by giving permission for the children to meet.  His yes began the Children's Rosary prayer group movement. 

Fr. Murphy was always very supportive of the Children's Rosary and despite his failing health he tried to join the children whenever he could for our monthly meetings.  At the end of the Rosary he would lift his hands and bless all the children and families.  Fr. Murphy had a wonderful Irish blessing he was fond of giving:

May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sunshine warm your face, the rain fall soft upon your fields And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand. Amen.

In the final weeks before his death I had the opportunity to visit him at St. Mary's home.  Despite a long road of illness his spirits were good.  He was staying in a simple room but he was very happy that he had been given permission to hang a crucifix on the wall.  I asked him if he could hear my confession.  After the confession,  Fr. Murphy shared that he had an opportunity to spend more time with Our Lord on the Cross. He asked me to also spend more time with Our Lord contemplating His passion. It is hard to relate the way this was conveyed but there was a deep sense that Fr. Murphy was in a very close place with Our Lord and was sharing insights and graces that were in a special way being given to him at that time in his life. 

Several days after seeing him for the last time he celebrated his birthday on November 26th. One of the members of the Children's Rosary brought him the booklet 33 Days to Morning Glory.  It was the 33 Day consecration to Jesus through Mary that the Children's Rosary was joining together to do beginning on November 29th and concluding on January 1st.  I had meant to give him a book myself and was so relieved to hear a friend and member of the Children's Rosary had given it to him on his birthday.  He was excited to receive it and join us in the Consecration.  At the wake on December 22 as I neared the casket I could see several of his special personal items laying out which included a crucifix and several pictures.  Amongst those things was the book 33 Days to Morning Glory.  It was a wonderful thing to see that at the time of His passing he was in the middle of the Consecration.  Another beautiful blessing was the unexpected visit the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa made to our parish the day before his passing.  It was as if Our Lady had come to give her dear priest, who had served the Church for over 50 years, a tender kiss and show him that she would be watching over the parish.  Our Lord and Our Lady are so good to us.  We are so grateful to them for such a wonderful and holy priest in Fr. Murphy.

Other posts you may enjoy:
How the Children's Rosary began
33 Day Consecration to Jesus though Mary
Children's Rosary welcomes Our Lady of Czestochowa

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