Rev Mgr John Murphy Prot. Ap.
15th February 2018
Few priests have served the Diocese of Leeds for longer than Mgr John Murphy, who died in hospital in Leeds on the evening of Monday, 29th January 2018, aged ninety-four. Born on 20th May 1923, and a proud son of County Cork, he studied for the priesthood in Dublin at All Hallows College. It was there that he was ordained for the Leeds diocese on 22nd June 1947.
For the next fifteen years he served as assistant priest in a number of parishes in a variety of locations across the diocese: Our Lady and All Saints, Otley; St Francis, Holbeck, Leeds; St Joseph, Pontefract; English Martyrs, York; and St Anne’s, Keighley. With hindsight these years can be seen as a formative experience for someone who would go on to be a long-serving Vicar General of the diocese, from 1981 until 2000. In 1962 Fr Murphy became the Assistant Administrator of the Leeds Diocesan Rescue, Protection and Child Welfare Society, the forerunner of today’s Catholic Care. In 1969 he succeeded Mgr J. J. Kelly as Administrator of the society and remained in that post until 1982, having by then been made a Vicar General by Bishop Wheeler.
In the same year Mgr Murphy became Parish Priest of St Patrick’s, Bradford and then in 1983 he moved across the city to St Joseph’s parish where he remained until 1990. For ten years from 1990-2000 he was Parish Priest of St Joseph’s, Tadcaster. He retired in 2000 and took up residence in Headingley, initially at Hinsley Court and latterly at Mount St Joseph’s Home, where he was cared for by the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Mgr Murphy’s long and distinguished service to the diocese was recognised in several ways over the years. He became an Honorary Canon of the diocese in 1971 and a member of the Cathedral Chapter in 1980. He became Provost of the Chapter in 1989 and in 2006, in the sixtieth year of his priesthood, he was appointed a Protonotary Apostolic by Pope Benedict XVI. In June of last year he celebrated the seventieth anniversary of his ordination and was joined by members of his family who travelled to Leeds from Ireland for the occasion.
Mgr Murphy was the last priest of the diocese to be ordained before 1950 and his memories of diocesan life over the past nearly three quarters of century were encyclopaedic and undimmed to the end. He will be remembered across the diocese with great fondness and respect as a formidable administrator, a stalwart of Catholic social welfare and a devoted pastor. He was, without doubt, an outstanding figure in the history of the Diocese of Leeds.
The details of Monsignor John Murphy’s funeral arrangements are as follows:
Monsignor Murphy will be received into the Chapel at Mount St Joseph’s Home, Shire Oak Road, Leeds, on Wednesday 14th February at 5pm, followed by Mass.
Requiem Mass will be celebrated at Leeds Cathedral, Great George Street, Leeds on Thursday 15th February at 12.00 noon.
On Saturday 17th February Mgr Murphy’s Body will be received into St. Joseph’s Church, SMA, Wilton, Co. Cork, Ireland after which the Rosary will be prayed.
On Monday 19th February at 11.00am Requiem Mass will be celebrated for Mgr Murphy followed by interment at St Finbarr’s Cemetery, Glasheen Rd, Glasheen, Co. Cork, Ireland.
May he rest in peace.