Monsignor Jeremiah Murphy, pastor of West Hollywood’s St. Victor Church, died on March 1, Ash Wednesday. Murphy, who was about to turn 80, had suffered for years from neuropathy, which severely affected his ability to move, but not his ability to serve his congregation. Members of that congregation along with some 70 priests and seven bishops, turned out for a funeral yesterday to memorialize Murphy.
Murphy was a native Angeleno and the son of Patrick Joseph Murphy and Marie Cremins Murphy. He graduated from Transfiguration School and was ordained from St. John’s. He taught at St. Paul High School (1967-73); was principal of Bishop Amat High School and from 1977 to 1985 was superintendent of secondary schools. Murphy was named a monsignor in 1978. From 1986 to 1991 he served Secretariat Director for the archdiocese and from 1988 to 2000 as pastor of St. Brendan in Hancock Park. He was named administrator of St. Victor and then appointed pastor in 2003.
“He was confined to a wheelchair with neuropathy,” wrote Richard Maggio, a congregant. “He was unable to even hold the chalice or to give communion. But his mind was as sharp as a razor. The archbishop allowed him to stay as pastor way past retirement age. He was a great inspiration to all of us at Saint Victor’s … My hope is that I can learn from his suffering to show more love and compassion each day of my life for all human beings.”
Spencer Lewerenz, a seminarian at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, recalled his experience with Monsignor Murphy as a “mentor and an advocate throughout my journey.”
“He never complained,” Lewerenz said. “If you asked him how he was doing, he would simply nod and say ‘fine’ and then change the subject to you. …. He accepted his illness with a ‘humble and contrite spirit.’ I have to think that it was the greatest act of courage for him to say two masses a day being in that condition, not to mention the holy hours, the board meetings the service to the homeless, and all the other thing he was involved in.”
“To serve with Monsignor was to be his hands, which meant that, among other things, I would put the host in his hand, help him to grasp it, and lift his hand for the Elevation. In that moment I believe Monsignor was allowing Jesus in the sacrifice of His body, to make it possible for him to continue offering his own body as a sacrifice for the people of West Hollywood.”
Monsignor Murphy is survived by his sister Kathleen Justice Murphy, brother Patrick (Connie) Murphy, his nieces and nephews Kevin Muno, Mike (Judy) Muno, Therese (Sam) Hernandez, Maureen (Tom) Hensley, Larry (Kim) Muno and Patrick (Robyn) Murphy.