Thomas J. Murphy was born at the onset of the Great Depression – the worst economic downturn the world had ever experienced. It affected the vast majority of all Americans – rich and poor. Millions suffered deeply. He also lived his formative years during the conduct of World War II. The events of the 1930s and 1940s had a material impact on the future archbishop. These experiences forged one of the bedrock principles of his life and ministry – the Catholic Church extending a helping hand to the less fortunate.
Many years later in 1996, Archbishop Murphy shared the following thought during a speech given to Catholic Community Services of Western, WA, “Though many see our beautiful processions and elaborate cathedrals, what they don’t see is our compassion for the poor and vulnerable. Our mission to serve those in need is rooted in our strong Catholic religious heritage. We are the people with names and homes and responsibilities who must be the voices for those who are faceless, homeless and unemployed.”