Father Richard "Murph" Murphy passed away April 13, 2013, after a long illness. He was 75.
Father Murphy grew up in the New York City area, where he attended St. Anselm Parish as a child and was enrolled in the parish school. He later attended Infant Jesus School in Port Jefferson, N.Y., and Port Jefferson High School before coming to this area to study history at the University of Rochester. After graduating from UR in 1959 he enrolled in St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester. He was ordained by Bishop James E. Kearney on June 5, 1965, at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester.
After his ordination Father Murphy served in the Southern Tier for 30 years. He was assistant pastor at St. Patrick Parish in Elmira from 1965-70 and St. Casimir Parish, also in Elmira, from 1970-76. During the 1970s he also served as chaplain at Elmira College and Corning Community College. In 1976 he became chaplain at Notre Dame High School in Elmira, where he served until 1979. During that period, he also was involved in ministry at the Chemung County Jail.
In 1979 Father Murphy became chaplain at Cornell University, and in 1982 he was appointed pastor at St. Mary Parish in Corning. He remained there until 1990, when he became pastoral administrator at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Addison. He was involved with campus ministry at Cornell University again in the early 1990s before moving to Seneca County, where he assisted at St. Patrick Parish in Seneca Falls.
In 2003 Father Murphy became chaplain at the New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls, and in 2009 he became sacramental minister at St. Francis of Assisi and St. Hyacinth parishes in Auburn, which recently merged to form the new Ss. Mary and Martha Parish. He’d been sick on and off for a number of years and relied on a walker to get around, but he never let that slow him down, noted Deacon Gary DiLallo, parochial administrator at Ss. Mary and Martha.
"I called him my Energizer rabbit because as sick as he was, he wanted to say Mass. He loved to say Mass. He had an intense love for the Mass and the Eucharist," Deacon DiLallo said.
Father Murphy also loved to anoint the sick and hear confessions, and never said no when he was asked to minister to someone, he said. In return, parishioners loved Father Murphy, he added.
"He was a very good priest," agreed Father Walter Wainwright, who was one of Father Murphy’s seminary classmates.
Although Father Murphy was very dedicated to his priesthood, he also had several hobbies, Father Wainwright added.
"He raised Bonsai plants, little trees. He liked antiques, and I think he spent a lot of his free time engaged in those kinds of activities," he said.
Father Murphy is survived by his sister, Mary Murphy. He also considered his parishioners throughout the diocese to be his family, Deacon DiLallo added.
His memorial Mass was celebrated by Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark at on April 17, 2013, at St. Hyacinth Church, Auburn. Father Murphy’s body was donated to the New York Chiropractic College.