Msgr. Joseph P. Murphy, a former chancellor of the archdiocese and pastor emeritus of St. Clare parish on Staten Island, died May 16. He was 91.
He was chancellor of the archdiocese, 1971-1985, and vice chancellor, 1960-1971, and finance officer.
He served as pastor of St. Clare from 1985 until his retirement in 2008.
Cardinal Dolan will preside at the interment Saturday, May 23, at Resurrection Cemetery on Staten Island.
Msgr. Joseph LaMorte, vicar general and moderator of the curia for the archdiocese, and a recent chancellor, remembered Msgr. Murphy as “a very respected priest, the kind of a guy who would make a young priest feel very, very welcome and significant in his priesthood.”
“My recollection of him as a seminarian and as a young priest was his service to the archdiocese as a longtime chancellor,” Msgr. LaMorte said.
“I’m glad to have been a successor of Msgr. Murphy as the chancellor for the year that I was,” Msgr. LaMorte said of his own assignment as chancellor, 2018-2019.
Additionally, “he was a very effective and beloved pastor on Staten Island.”
Msgr. LaMorte, who was ordained in 1981, recalled being assigned to give a mission at St. Clare’s in 1987 when Msgr. Murphy was pastor there. Then-Father LaMorte was serving on the Parish Mission Team for the archdiocese.
Because the church building of St. Clare could not hold the number of people who wanted to attend the mission, Msgr. Murphy converted the parish parking lot with a massive tent, a stage and chairs. Mission-goers were encouraged to carpool and arrangements were made, with the permission of area businesses, for them to park in nearby parking lots.
“It was really an opportunity—I was a young guy at the time, too—for me to sense the vibrancy of a parish like St. Clare and the great leadership” of Msgr. Murphy. “The people of St. Clare loved him very, very much.”
“I remember the great pride that he had in the archdiocese,” Msgr. LaMorte also said.
Msgr. Murphy served as parochial vicar of St. Thomas More, Manhattan, 1959-1960; St. Joseph’s, Croton Falls, 1957-1959 and St. Patrick’s, Yorktown Heights, summers of 1954-1956.
He attended Power Memorial Academy in Manhattan and studied for the priesthood at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie. He was ordained in 1954.
He earned a JCD in canon law from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated after the coronavirus quarantine is lifted.