St. Mel Catholic Church was the center of life in the vibrant West Side Chicago neighborhood in which the Murphy family lived. Thomas J. Murphy was baptized in St. Mel Catholic Church on October 23, 1932. In subsequent years, he would also make his First Communion and receive the sacrament of confirmation at St. Mel.
The parish experience had a profound influence on young Thomas Murphy. Many years later he reflected on the significance of parish life to the local Catholic community, “The mission of the parish is to celebrate the significant moments in people’s lives through the sacraments. Sacraments are community celebrations where we rejoice together in graced moments of our encounters with Christ.”