The Eucharist drew Father Joseph Tyson Murphy to the Catholic faith and the priesthood – Catholic Standard

The Eucharist inspired him to become a Catholic and drew him to the priesthood, and it remains central to Father Joseph Tyson Murphy’s life as a newly ordained priest and in his work as Acting Director of the Office of worship in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.

Father Joseph, a member of the Oratorian community of St. Philip Neri at St. Thomas Apostle Church in Washington, DC, was ordained a priest there by Cardinal Wilton Gregory on October 8.

In an interview, the new priest – who prefers to call himself Father Joseph because of his connection with this religious community – traced the roots of his vocation. The 31-year-old Modesto, California native noted that he grew up in a nominally Christian household and was a high school student when a family invited him to go with them to church mass. Saint Joseph of Modesto. It was the first time he had attended a Catholic Mass and he was struck by the joyful spirit of the people there. Then his life changed as he watched the priest during the consecration of the Eucharist.

“Mass has just started to unfold and it has taken me captive,” he said. “Father said these words, ‘This is my Body,’ and I knew when he lifted up the host, at that time He (Jesus) was there, and I knew I had no other choice at that time than to become a Catholic.”

Later, while attending college in Modesto, the future priest became a Catholic during the Easter Vigil in 2011 at St. Joseph’s Church, where he received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Communion. , which he says left him with a spirit of “indescribable joy”. .”

He then attended Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in theology and later a master’s degree in theology and Christian ministry, while discerning a possible vocation first among the Franciscans.

“The whispers grew louder as I got closer to the Blessed Sacrament,” he said.

While at the Franciscan University, Father Joseph said he developed “a deeply personal relationship with God the Father through Saint Joseph.” Explaining his devotion to this saint, he said: “Engraved on his heart are the names of Our Lord and Our Lady. The closer you get to him, the closer you get to them.

His years at this university also helped him deepen his relationship with the Holy Spirit through Mary. “Her total willingness to give herself to God and empty herself for God and thus be filled with the Holy Spirit is an example that I desire to emulate every day,” he said.

Another key step in his professional journey occurred when he came to Washington to study at the Catholic University of America.

“I was looking for a parish that had a respectful liturgy, holy priests and a good community, which I found at St. Thomas Apostle,” he said.

He continued his discernment for the priesthood through the Oratorian community of St. Philip Neri in St. Thomas Apostle, which includes the pastor there, Fr. Richard Mullins, and the moderator of that community, Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth. They were among 16 priests who concelebrated Father Joseph’s Ordination Mass, along with Archbishop Leo Cushley of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland; Bishop Michael Campbell, Bishop Emeritus of Lancaster, England; and Washington Auxiliary Bishops Mario Dorsonville and Roy E. Campbell, Jr.

Then-brother Joseph Tyson Murphy smiles during an Oct. 8 mass at St. Thomas Apostle Church in Washington, where Cardinal Wilton Gregory later ordained him to the priesthood. (Photo by William Melançon)

The Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri is a community of Roman Catholic priests and lay brothers who live a common life bound not by formal vows but by the bond of charity. This way of life was founded by Saint Philip Neri, a 16e century Italian priest, and one of its most famous adherents was St. John Henry Newman, a remarkable 19e century Anglican scholar and priest who converted to Catholicism and became a Catholic priest and later cardinal. He was canonized as a saint by Pope Francis in 2019.

Portraits of Saint John Henry Newman and Saint Philip Neri were displayed near the front of the shrine during Father Joseph’s ordination, and he said their life of faith inspired him.

“I think the most important thing about the two of them is that they had zealous hearts on fire with the love of God, and that fire consumed them, so that they all lived for Him,” said he declared.

Deacon William Boesman reads the Gospel during Mass Oct. 8 at St. Thomas Apostle Church in Washington, where Father Joseph Tyson Murphy was ordained a priest. To the left is a portrait of Saint John Henry Newman. (Photo by William Melançon)

At Catholic University, Father Joseph graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sacred Theology in 2021, and he said his time there helped facilitate his growing relationship with the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, and that he rested on the foundations of faith laid by his years at the Franciscan University. University and by his devotion to Saint Joseph.

In his homily at the Ordination Mass, Cardinal Gregory said that being a priest means modeling one’s life on the cross and living a life of surrender to the demands of the Gospel and the needs of the Church. “Your happiness and joy will be found in surrendering yourself as the Lord Jesus to the will of the Father,” the cardinal said as he sat in a chair at the altar, facing Brother Joseph moments before he left him. commands the priesthood.

Cardinal Gregory encouraged him to rely on prayer and to “be a man of simplicity and joy” who can help those he serves know that God loves and cares for them.

Concluding his homily, the Cardinal said, “Being a good priest is a lifelong endeavor. I pray that from this first day of your priesthood and through all the days that remain to you, you will discover the wonder of service in the image of the Lord and that you will surrender to the love of God… »

As Brother Joseph lay prostrate before the altar, the Litany of Saints sung by the Schola Cantorum of the Apostle Saint Thomas included the names of Saint Philip Neri and Saint John Henry Newman.

Cardinal Wilton Gregory ordains Father Joseph Tyson Murphy to the priesthood during an October 8, 2022 Mass at St. Thomas Apostle Church in Washington, DC (Photo by William Melancon)

A few moments later, Cardinal Gregory made the imposition of hands on Father Joseph’s head, an outward sign of ordination, and the new priest was invested with a stole and a chasuble by Msgr. Wadsworth and Father Mullins.

During the Oct. 8 ordination Mass for Father Joseph Tyson Murphy (center) at St. Thomas Apostle Church in Washington, the new priest is invested with the stole and chasuble by Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, left, moderator of the Oratorian community of St. Philip Neri at the parish; and by Father Richard Mullins, on the right, the pastor there. (Photo by William Melançon)

At the end of the Mass, Father Joseph faced the congregation and gave them his first blessing, singing, “May Almighty God bless you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

Cardinal Wilton Gregory stands with Father Joseph Tyson Murphy after ordaining him to the priesthood during an Oct. 8 Mass at St. Thomas Apostle Church in Washington. (Photo by William Melançon)

The ordination mass was broadcast live and her mother DeNeice Murphy, who was unable to attend in person for health reasons, was able to watch it with other parishioners at home at St. Joseph in Modesto, California. His mother became a Catholic a few years after him. His father, David Murphy, died in 2001. Father Joseph has three siblings, two brothers and one sister.

Recalling a conversation he had with his mother after she attended his ordination, Father Joseph said, “I have never heard more joy in his voice.

In July 2021, the priest-to-be began serving as a liturgical assistant in the Archdiocese of Washington’s worship office, and last summer became the office’s acting director. Part of this job is planning Masses for the Cardinal and Bishops and assisting them at these liturgies.

“The best part of my job is twofold,” Fr. Joseph said. “First, I have a vital role to play in helping God’s people worship their Savior, and that’s a great gift.”

He added, “Because the cardinal and bishops go all over the diocese and we are blessed with a very diverse population, I can experience the fullness and breadth of the Body of Christ in and through the people of God, helping the bishops.”

Father Joseph has been ordained a priest in the archdiocese, and when St. Philip Neri’s Oratory in Washington receives canonical recognition from the Holy See, he hopes to become a priest of the oratory.

Father Joseph Tyson Murphy, left, raises the Eucharist as he celebrates his first Mass Oct. 9 at St. Thomas Apostle Church in Washington. To the right is Father Richard Mullins, the pastor there. (Photo by William Melançon)

During his first Mass at St. Thomas Apostle Church on October 9 the day after his ordination, Father Joseph was admittedly moved as he spoke the words of consecration and held the Eucharist which inspired him to become a Catholic and ultimately to become a priest.

“It’s overwhelming and humbling,” he said of his new life, adding that his goals as a priest are “to follow Jesus wherever he leads me” and to help others make same.

Father Joseph Tyson Murphy, standing second from right at the altar, celebrates his first mass Oct. 9 at St. Thomas Apostle Church in Washington. (Photo by William Melançon)

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