INTRODUCING THE MONSIGNOR MURPHY DIGITAL ARCHIVE By MICHELLE RASH ‘16, ‘24 CSMA AND BRANT SKOGRAND ‘04 MBC
50 th Anniversary of Ordination
grow and reach out to every larger numbers of people, to see it become a stronger witness of the Church and the Catholic faith to the community and to the many different people the community embraces. St Thomas makes a rich and enduring contribution to the lives of many, many people, people of all walks of life and of many (7) positions. It has been gratifying to have a role at St. Thomas — Italy Mass and a meaningful life were all remains reasons to be a priest. While many wonderful, satisfying and meaningful things have happened, I’m always very conscious of falling short of the ideal. Christ calls us to perfect like His heavenly Father and yet we know we fall far short of the goal. It is so very easy to get caught up in the rush of activities, of activities that are good in themselves but should always be pointed toward God. As a seminarian I read a book by a great French spirited writer, and I never forgot its lesson, and it could be summed up in his statement that we must not confuse the good works of God with the God of good works, that is, don’t get so caught up in trying to do good that you neglect the God who is all good and who fills the earth with His goodness. Good works should begin with the good God and end by leading to Him. We must not get so wrapped up in the good work of God that we neglect the God of good work. That means more attention to the interior life, to purity of motivation, to awareness of God’s grace in all our accomplishments, to a kindly manner that radiates the love of Christ. I am very conscious that on the day of judgement the Lord will not ask what have…(8) does not need our work but He wants our love and to love us. As we move closer to that day let us pray for one another. I will certainly pray for all of you, for Mother and Dad, for all my relations and friends, living and dead, for all who have helped me and for all when I have tried to help, I ask you prayers and I assure you of my prayers for you. God keep you always.
Welcome and thank you for coming to join me in celebrating and in thanking Almighty God for all the blessings of the past 50 years and a of a lifetime. In a special way I want to thank Fr. Vang and the People of St. Vincent’s for the invitation to be here today. I’m delighted to be here. My memory goes back more than 60 years to my years in the St. Vincent’s school. And they are happy memories. Like the book entitled All I Need to Know I learned In Kindergarten, what I learned here in grade school have been life long lessons. I am profoundly grateful for that experience. Of course, the deepest and largest influence was that of my parents. And their influence combined with the school and parish influence. They reinforced one another. Father Griffin comes to mind immediately. I served mass for him regularly, ran errands, counted the collection and many other things. That association undoubtedly enkindled thoughts about the priesthood in very impressionable years. The debt I owe him is immense and I try to repay him regularly in my prayers and masses for him. Then there was Fr. MacCormac, assistant pastor, a wonderful man, a very devoted priest. My association with him covered my years as a seminarian. I prepared a confirmation class for him when he was pastor in Raymond, MN. I also stayed with him in Waterville and I got the privileges of preaching his funeral sermon. There are so many others I should menti on. Fr. Richmond O’Connor who succeeded Fr. MacCormac as assistant to Fr. Griffin and who remains a dear friend. Ill health prevents him from being here today. Msgr. Steiner a boyhood companion and a friend to this day is another. Fr. Peter Meade was the pastor 50 yrs ago when I offered my first Mass. Msgr. Frank Gilligant preached at that mass. I visited him this week at the Regina Nursery in Hastings. In my memories of St. Vincent’s school, a large role was played by Sr. Francies Begis who was principle and 8 th grade teacher. Sr. Marie de Lourdes was another who influenced me. And then there was Mae Moglan secretary of the parish, undoubtedly the best human person in the history of St. Vincent’s. Her service spanned at least 5 pastorates. What a marvelous example she has given to all of us. Then there are so many who were here in school when I was here and whose association and memories I cherish. In a special way I want to thank all who have prepared the events of this day especially the work for the refreshment we will share after Mass. I don’t know how to express my deepest gratitude for my brothers and sisters and their spouses and children and grandchildren. They have been and are an enormous source of support over the years. I love them all. I pity the poor priest or anyone who has no family. Life must be very long. I pray in a special way and very frequently for my family. Fifty years is a long time — many changes have occurred. The changes in this parish are a sort of microcosm of the changes in the Church and in society. Yet amid the changes there are certain constants, certain enduring volumes and principles that haven’t changed, that in fact have become even clearer and stronger over the years. Certainly that is true of all my reason for becoming a priest. I remember so clearly being asked by a retreat master “why do you want to become a priest?” My answer then and now was two -fold: to
be able to offer holy Mass and to accomplish good in my work. There are other important reasons, but none more basic than these two. Today is a wonderful day to celebrate an anniversary of the priesthood because it is the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, what we formally call Corpus Christi. Eucharist and priesthood go together always. In today’s Gospel Jesus said: “I myself am the living bread come down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread he will live forever; the bread that I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world…He who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has life eternal, and I wi ll raise him up on the last day.” (John 6) It is the profound privilege and at the same time an awesome one of the priest to stand in Christ’s place each day and pronounce the momentous words of consecration: this is my body: this is my blood. What could be more worth doing? The Almighty and ever-loving God becomes present. He enters into an ever-deepening relationship with a priest and with all you [who] come to His table. And that is not all. He promises “life eternal” to those who come to Him in faith a nd love. Think of what eternal life is — not-ending, ever-lasting, goes on and on, all the happiness we are capable of having and having it without end. The holy Eucharist is the most profound of mysteries and the promises it carries is beyond our wildest dream and imaginations. It is literally too good to be true, but it is true! The promise of eternal life is one that only God could make and can fulfill and He does make it to all of us and will fulfill it. Only infinite unbounded love can be so good and generous. It is not just a matter of endless time, it is endless time in the possession of God Himself, of a face-to-face, person-to-person, possession of God Himself. Truly the Holy Eucharist is the center of the priesthood. The be a priest is a lofty, noble, and challenging calling. A second reason for my becoming a priest, and one that is energizing even to this day, is the wonderful opportunity to help people! A priest is called to be a servant of people, especially in their religious needs. As a young person one tends to think of this service in terms of temporal needs but as one matures you see better the meaning of Our Lord’s statement that “man does not live on bread alone.” There is a deep spiritual hunger that can be satisfied by prayer and sa craments and giving a true meaning of life. As I think of the many careers that are possible today and that are geared toward improving the lives of people, there is more that seems to me to be as helpful to people as the career of a priest. Certainly my life has been very different from anything I ever thought about when I was a seminarian; I’ve been a parish priest, an AF chaplain, a professor, and University president. Over the years I’ve travelled extensively, met all kinds of people, poor and ri ch, ordinary people and popes and presidents. I’ve loved all the positions I’ve held. Above all these has been the presidency of St Thomas University, I can’t imagine any thing being busier, more unrelenting ly busy, than that position but if afforded marvelous opportunities to do significant things. Some people would not look upon the presiding as a service because they see as the top of a pyramid and because it removes one from direct and immediate contact with the people being served. It is hours one of service to many, many people, many of whom I will never meet. There is, however, a satisfaction in enabling those who immediately serve others, such as teachers of students, so they can do their job better. It is satisfying to see a great Catholic institution
T he impact of Monsignor Terrence J. Murphy, the namesake of the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy, who served as the University of St. Thomas president from 1966- 91, will continue to be felt for generations thanks to a generous gift from his family. Murphy, who passed away in 2004, would have turned 100 on Dec. 21, 2020. In celebration of this milestone, the Murphy Institute launched the Monsignor Murphy Digital Archive this spring. The collection features Murphy’s original manuscripts; more than 150 sermons, dedications and addresses were digitized. “The Monsignor Murphy collection is a great addition to and resource for those looking at the history of Catholic higher education and the University of St. Thomas. It also will help the Murphy Institute in thinking
Samples of Monsignor Murphy’s sermons, dedications and addresses that will be available through the new digital archive.
Included in the archive are themes of the life and mission of the Catholic Church, marriage and family life, education, and the role of the university. The collection features a combination of typed and handwritten documents with Murphy’s notes and annotations in view, giving the reader a sense of comradery as they accompany Murphy in his writing process. The collection is accessible through the Murphy Institute website, where each manuscript is accompanied by a transcription of the original document. Murphy’s nephew GregMurphy ’85, ’89 MBA dedicated much of his free time to digitizing the items he found in a box labeled “Sermons” while helping his uncle move in 2003.
through our mission to serve both the university and the public,” says Dr. David Deavel , Murphy Institute
co-director, editor of LOGOS Journal and visiting assistant professor of Catholic studies.
“Monsignor Murphy’s model of grateful reflection and intellectually rigorous thought based on the Catholic intellectual tradition and the best that scholarship can offer provides us, at the Murphy Institute and the University of St. Thomas, not only a model but a goal for which to reach. We remain grateful to the Murphy family for making these documents available to us and for their continuing encouragement and financial support for us as we honor and extend the heritage of Terrence J. Murphy.”
St. Thomas Lumen Spring 2021 Page 25
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