Pope Paul VI appoints the Very Reverend Thomas J. Murphy to be the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Great Falls, MT on July 5, 1978. It would be Pope Paul VI’s last appointment of an American bishop prior to this death.
At a farewell liturgy celebrated in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception on the grounds of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Bishop-Elect Murphy shared the following reflection in his homily, “It was not without some fears and some tears that I accepted this position. The fears were the awareness of my own limitations, my own humanity. Juxtaposed to the fears were the tears involved as a result of realizing I would be leaving a place and a people who have symbolized the meaning of home to me for the last 45 years. And yet, despite the fears and the tears, I responded affirmatively to the request made of me.
“And the basic reason for my acceptance was the fact that I was asked to exercise a position of leadership and responsibility in the Church today. For me, this Church, despite its human frailty, is the animator and facilitator for the presence of God in the world today. To respond in any other way to the invitation extended to me would be a contradiction of my belief in this Church and the reality it represents. And so I place my trust and faith in the Lord for in Christ, there is joy and hope.”