Obituary

Obituary: Father Charles Murphy, former director of Deaf Apostolate

byFather Robert M. O'Grady
6/17/2011

Father Charles Murphy Pilot file photo

Father Charles Murphy was born in Cambridge a son of the late Edward and Bridget (O'Neill) Murphy. In addition to his parents he was predeceased by his brother Edward and he is survived by his sister, Joan, of Reading; and his brother Kevin of Chelmsford.

After completing his seminary studies at St. John's in Brighton, he was ordained to the priesthood at Holy Name Church, West Roxbury. The ordaining bishop was the pastor of his home parish, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Riley. Bishop Riley, who had previously served both as faculty member and rector of the seminary while Charlie was a student, had just been ordained auxiliary of the archdiocese in December 1959. Thus his ordination created extra bonds between the newly minted bishop and priest.

Cardinal Cushing named him an assistant at St. Bridget Parish, Maynard where he served until April 1964 when he was named assistant at Our Lady of Lourdes, Revere. In February 1969 he began a three year assignment as an associate at St. Agatha, Milton.

In August 1972, with the permission of Archbishop Humberto Medeiros, he undertook graduate work in counseling for the deaf at the well known Gallaudet College in the Nation's capital. Now known as Gallaudet University the school has a wide reputation for its programs both for the hearing impaired and deaf, as well as for those who will work, teach and guide them.

On his return to the archdiocese in 1974 he was named counselor and chaplain at the Boston School for the Deaf in Randolph. The school was a special apostolate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston. The school closed its doors in 1994 and the following year, actually in August 1995 Cardinal Law named him as director of the archdiocese's Deaf Apostolate and at the same time part time parochial vicar at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Weymouth.

Moving around the archdiocese to four or more locations each week he was available at sites in Needham, Burlington, Randolph and Whitman for celebration of the sacraments, spiritual direction and counseling. At the time of his appointment he told The Pilot that he himself had a hearing impairment and so could more readily identify with those in this special apostolate.

In August 2003 he was assigned as chaplain of the Norfolk County Correction Facility in Dedham. And from 2006 to his retirement in 2009 he was parochial vicar at St. Francis, Weymouth.

He had been in declining health over the past several months. That decline accelerated over the past several weeks; he had been in hospice care in Haverhill and he died there on June 11, 2011.

South Regional Bishop John Dooher was to be the principal celebrant of Father Murphy's Funeral Mass on June 18 at St. Francis Xavier Church, Weymouth. Father James Canniff, senior priest at Immaculate Conception, Malden, a classmate and longtime friend, served as the homilist and among those who indicated that they would concelebrate the Funeral Mass were Msgr. Peter Martocchio, senior priest, St. Jerome, Weymouth; Fathers Eugene Sullivan and Richard DeVeer, pastor and parochial vicar respectively of St. Francis Parish; two senior priests friends of Father Murphy Father Thomas C. Foley and Paul McPartland, and Father Paul O'Connell, a priest of the Worcester diocese.

Following the Funeral Mass Father Murphy was buried in Cambridge Cemetery, Cambridge.