It was an an emotional laden moment and time of sober reflection during the burial of the longest serving missionary priest in the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi, Very Rev Fr Michael Murphy, in Makurdi, the Benue state capital.
Murphy, aged 94, died after a brief illness, at the Bishop Murray Hospital in Makurdi on 28 November, 2022.
He was buried on Wednesday, 7th of December, 2022 at the St Dominic’s High School, in Makurdi.
Fr Michael Murphy until his passing at the age of 94 was the longest-serving Irish missionary priest of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit.
Murphy who has spent over 60 years as a priest in Tivland, has contributed to the spiritual, health and educational development of the people in the various communities and dioceses where he worked.
Murphy worked in many parishes in Katsina Ala, Aliade in Gwer LGA, St. Theresa’s parish High Level, St. Peter’s Wurukum and finally, St Dominic’s Catholic church, Shachi, all in Makurdi, where he finally retired as the parish priest three months ago.
Enumerating the various works of Father Murphy, Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja Archdiocese, His Grace, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama and the Bishop of Makurdi diocese, Bishop Wilfred Anagbe extolled his numerous contributions and prayed God to grant him eternal rest.
Anagbe said “The allotted time for very Rev Father Michael Murphy, CSSP, is completed and that is why we ware here to bid him farewell.”
He noted that among the hundreds of Spiritan missionaries that were appointed to the Nigerian mission, in the 20th Century, Fr. Murphy was the last man standing.
Bishop Kaigama who described Fr Murphy as a universal missionary said the late Irish priest lived an excellent missionary and exemplary life.
He noted that Murphy dedicated his life to the development of the church across many parts of the country and prayed God to grant him eternal rest.
Earlier, Bishop of the Gboko Diocese, Most Rev. Williams Avenya praise the numerous contributions of Fr Murphy in spreading the gospel in Benue and beyond and called on all Christians to prepare while they are alive.
“We know the story of a man who came here as a missionary, young vibrant missionary, who many of us saw as a brother, we know his story so well, a man who opened hospitals, churches and schools.
“We known of a man who left a job in England and came over here, and even though events in England and Ireland have continued to change but he has stayed here with us all these while. He knew Makurdi diocese, he knew Yola diocese and everywhere he went he has made a mark.
” If Katakana Ala has a Cathedral today, It was Fr Murphy, if Gboko diocese has a hospital in Adikpo, it was Fr Murphy, if the Holy Rosary Sisters found its way to Makurdi, it was Fr Murphy. We can call Fr Murphy from anthropology to sociology, he was just incredible.”
Avenya prayed for the repose of the soul of Fr Murphy and the souls of all the faithful departed.
Catholic Bishop of Otukpo Diocese, Most Reverend Michael Apochi, Catholic Bishop of Lafia Diocese, Most Reverend David Ajang as well as the Catholic Bishop of Katsina-Ala Diocese, Most Reverend Isaac Dugu were among ecclesiastical authorities while Governor Samuel Ortom and the representative of the Irish ambassador were among the dignitaries who graced the requiem Mass in honour of the late Very Reverend Fr Michael Murphy, CSSp.