Archbishop Murphy’s parents left Ireland and came to America in search of opportunity and the hope of achieving the American dream. His mother and father made it a priority to ensure that he and his siblings, Bart and Eileen, were very much aware of their Irish heritage. This awareness had a profound influence on all aspects of his ministry.
The archbishop expressed the following in a homily delivered on St. Patrick’s Day in 1990, “I give thanks to my parents for their courage and faith to leave home and to find a new beginning in this strange land called America. I give thanks for their constant stories to me of a land and a people for whom faith is like one’s breath, where laughter is contagious, where tears come from a river of hardship and suffering, but within it all, there is the presence of a good and gracious God.
“I give thanks for hearing the stories of a rugged land known as the Kingdom of Kerry, where ocean waves hug the rocks, where mountain peaks try to touch their God, and where people struggle with the stony earth to yield a simple crop. Ireland is more than a nation. It is the soul of a people who yearn and dream and pray for peace.”