Bishop Murphy possessed a fundamental awareness of the importance of cultivating quality vocations to the priesthood and religious life. He stated the following repeatedly, “Church vocations do not just happen. They need to be nourished and encouraged. The basic foundation for all church vocations is the family and the local parish community. If we are to look for the vocations for the church ministry of tomorrow, we must look to the families of today.”
While acknowledging the dire need for vocations, Bishop Murphy believed the church must establish and maintain a set of criteria that all quality candidates must satisfy. He said, “I believe, at the same time, we cannot minimize standards or expectations of young people who might consider a vocation to religious life and priesthood. We must appeal to young people with good moral character, competent intellectual ability, good physical health, the desire to develop a spiritual life, the ability to relate to people, and the willingness to share one’s life as a servant to God and the church as a religious man or woman or priest.”
Bishop Murphy conferred the sacrament of holy orders on 11 men during his tenure as the leader of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, MT.