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Two Fathers Murphy named senior priests

By Father Robert M. O’Grady
Posted: 8/21/2009

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Father Charles Murphy and Father Humphrey J. Murphy Pilot photos

In two separate actions, one at the end of May, the other at the beginning of August, Cardinal O’Malley granted senior priest retirement status to two priests of the archdiocese: Father Charles J. Murphy, class of 1960 and Father Humphrey J. Murphy, class of 1961.

Father Charles Murphy is a Cambridge native and a proud son of St. Peter Parish. Following study at archdiocesan seminaries, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Riley ordained him to the priesthood at Holy Name Church, West Roxbury on Feb. 2, 1960. Bishop Riley had served as rector of St. John’s during most of Father Murphy’s seminary life and had just been ordained bishop the previous Dec. 21.

Between his ordination in 1960 and August 1972, Father Murphy was an assistant in there parishes: St. Brigid, Maynard, Our Lady of Lourdes, Revere and St. Agatha, Milton. In 1972 he undertook graduate studies at the world renowned Gallaudet College, now University, in Washington, D.C. The school specializes in training and educating the hearing impaired. Returning to the archdiocese two years later he became counselor at the Boston School for the Deaf in Randolph. When the school was closed 20 years later, he was assigned as Director of the Deaf Apostolate of the archdiocese for almost the following ten years; at the same time he was part time parochial vicar at St. Francis Xavier parish in Weymouth. He also served a third assignment as chaplain at Norfolk County Correctional Facility, Dedham (2003-2004).

In 2006 he was named full time parochial vicar at the Weymouth parish, which is one of the larger parishes in the South Region region.

With his 75th birthday approaching on July 24, he submitted the request to become a senior priest and Cardinal O’Malley accepted his request effective Aug. 1 and granted him senior priest/retirement status. He will remain in residence at St. Francis Xavier and assist as he is able in the parish.

Father Humphrey J. Murphy is a native of Waltham and was born in the Watch City on Sept. 2, 1934. He completed seminary formation at St. John’s, Brighton and Cardinal Cushing ordained him on Feb. 2, 1961 at the cathedral. His entire 48 years of priestly ministry has been in archdiocesan parishes.

The parishes stretch across the archdiocese geographically, they vary in size and composition as well as “type.” After ordination he was assigned to an urban or city parish, St. Mary, Charlestown; in 1968 he was associate at St. Mary, Wrentham, then a more rural and growing parish; in 1970 he was back to Boston and another, this time smaller, urban parish, St. Monica in South Boston. He returned to the more rural setting of Our Lady of Sorrows in Sharon (1972-1973) before becoming part of the team ministry at St. Joseph, Somerville for the next 15 years. During the time he was at the Union Square parish it underwent dramatic demographic shifts not uncommon for many urban archdiocesan parishes during those same years.

In 1988 Cardinal Law named him first as the administrator (to 1989) and then as the pastor (1989-2009) of the largely suburban, St. Florence Parish in Wakefield. His varied priestly experience as an assistant and parochial vicar as well as collaborating in team ministry fitted him well for St. Florence which is a kind of happy mix of urban and rural, or suburban folks, and kind of halfway in size between St. Mary Charlestown and Our Lady of Sorrows in Sharon.

Since his retirement became effective on May 31, 2009, Father Murphy has been living at St. Patrick Manor, Framingham.