T. Austin Murphy, retired auxiliary bishop

November 19, 1991|By Patrick Ercolano | Patrick Ercolano,Evening Sun Staff

Retired Auxiliary Bishop T. Austin Murphy, a city native who became a leader of the Baltimore Roman Catholic Archdiocese, died of apparent cardiac arrest Sunday while walking to a church service. He was 80.

A Christian wake service for Bishop Murphy will be held at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St.

A mass of Christian burial for Bishop Murphy will be held at the cathedral at 11 a.m. Thursday. Immediately after the service, the bishop's body will be interred in the crypt beneath the cathedral.

In a statement released yesterday by the archdiocese, Archbishop William H. Keeler remembered Bishop Murphy for "his strong, positive influence for good."

The archbishop added, "As we mourn his passing, we may still take inspiration from his deep faith and genuine concern for others, expressed so often with warmth and wit."

The second of five children, Bishop Murphy grew up in St. Martin's parish in West Baltimore. He chose the priesthood for his profession and took up studies at St. Mary's Seminary. In 1937, he was ordained by Archbishop Michael J. Curley at the Basilica of the Assumption downtown.

Bishop Murphy's first assignment was at St. Martin's. He stayed there for seven years and subsequently took posts at St. Dominic's in northeast Baltimore and St. Mary of the Assumption in Govans.

In 1951, he was assigned to St. Rose of Lima parish at Fourth Street and Washburn Avenue in Brooklyn. He is said to have struck up an especially warm relationship with the people of the parish. He was named pastor there in 1961, the only time in his career when he was made the spiritual head of a parish.

A year later, he was named an auxiliary bishop by then-Archbishop Lawrence Shehan. He remained the pastor of St. Rose of Lima until 1972, when his duties as bishop forced him to leave the parish that he loved so deeply -- and that loved him with equal fervor.

Bishop Murphy, who retired from the office of auxiliary bishop in 1984, stayed in residence at St. Rose of Lima until his death. He was on his way to a 12:15 p.m. mass there when he collapsed. He was taken to Harbor Hospital Center, where attempts to revive him failed.

Among Bishop Murphy's accomplishments was his guidance of a trail-blazing Catholic-Lutheran dialogue group. Its work has continued for more than two decades and proved the forerunner of similar ecumenical efforts.

He also served as vicar for religious in the archdiocese and as the first chairman of the archdiocese's Liturgical Commission.

Bishop Murphy is survived by a sister, Rosemary M. Malooly, and a brother, C. Carroll Murphy, both of Baltimore.

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