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Brisbane man ordained, Fr Joseph Murphy wants to build his priestly ministry around teaching

Big family: Fr Joseph Murphy with his family after his ordination in St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, on August 3. Photos: Giovanni Portelli/The Catholic Weekly

NEWLY ordained priest Fr Joseph Murphy says he wants to build his ministry around teaching.

Whether from the pulpit or in conversation witnessing to his faith in his unique role as a priest, Fr Murphy wants to teach.

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher ordained Fr Murphy alongside six other men at St Mary’s Cathedral on August 3.

Fr Murphy’s family and his friends, many of whom came from out of state to be there, also joined him at the ordination.

Leading up to his ordination, he said it was the culmination of seven years’ hard work and a lifetime of preparation, and that he was excited to take on a new life of service to God and His Church.

Far from his Holy Orders in St Mary’s, Fr Murphy recognised his Catholic roots at Corpus Christi Church, Nundah, and attributed his vocation to the role-modelling of then parish priest Fr John Sullivan.

Fr Murphy said he was most looking forward to ministering the Sacrament of Penance.

“I think hearing confessions is something I’m really looking forward to being able to do,” he said. “I have an attraction to being with people at those difficult moments in their life, particularly the elderly at the end of their life.

“I think because it’s a moment where people are most open to the working of God; in times where they’re most open to a deep and intimate encounter with God. 

“I’m excited as a priest … to being able to be an instrument through whom the good Lord can work and facilitate those intimate encounters with other people.”

Fr Murphy’s calling to priesthood wasn’t without its challenges, though, especially coming from a family of seven.

He said he long held a disposition to family life and having a family of his own.

But his ministry more than filled this longing.

“I found that kind of desire, and I’m continuing to find that desire, is fulfilled in the work you do and the ministry you do with other people,” Fr Murphy said. “You open yourself up to a much wider family.”

He said a consistent rhythm of prayer in his life was a great help.

Praying the Divine Office, devotions like the Rosary and prayers he had prayed since he was a young child were all great strengths, Fr Murphy said.

“If you have a very consistent rhythm of prayer in your life, then whatever challenges come up in your life – doubts, uncertainties, sufferings – that consistent rhythm will always be there,” he said.

“That rhythm of prayer, it’s something you can depend on.”

Throughout his diaconate at Mosman parish in Sydney’s northern suburbs, Fr Murphy learned many lessons about parish life and ministry.

“The main lesson for me is not to be afraid to be generous to people and to give as much time and energy as you can to people,” he said.

“People really appreciate it.”

Fr Murphy offered a similar message to young people considering vocations.

“The advice I would give would be don’t be afraid to step out into the deep, don’t be afraid to give yourself – your whole life – completely to God,” he said. 

“You’ll never be disappointed.”

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