This past week, I participated in the annual gathering of the alumni of my seminary, the
in North American College , which took place in Rome . Since this seminary serves all the dioceses
of the Indianapolis its reunion is held all around the country. I chose to attend this year because it was so
close and in honor of a NAC classmate of mine from United States who died in 2014, Fr.
Tom Murphy. Indianapolis
“The Murph,” as he was affectionately called, was a latecomer to a priestly vocation. Before he entered the seminary, he was a soldier and later a lawyer and a legislator. He was also a talented musician. He entered the seminary at the age of 49 and was ordained as priest at the age of 53. I always said that while the rest of us (in our 20’s or so) aged and matured in the seminary, Tom “younged.” He grew more youthful as he entered more deeply into the studies for the priesthood. Several years after our ordinations, at a college class reunion, I learned that one of my classmates from the Notre Dame class of 1981, Mary Murphy, was Tom’s niece. What a small world!
One of the most moving parts of my time in
was a visit to the grave of my classmate to pay my respects to
him. I found the cemetery and looked for
Father Tom in the priests’ circle, but he was not there. Wondering whether I had gone to the wrong
cemetery, I checked in at the office and discovered that he was buried in a
family plot. Fr. Tom was buried in a
grave near a large tombstone proudly displaying the name Murphy and surrounded
by many other relatives. As I prayed
there, I thought of the years we spent together in Rome and all the other
classmates who were with us, a few of whom have passed away since those years
and others who are involved in various pursuits around the country. A number of the Indianapolis priests I met
remembered Father Tom with fondness as well. Indianapolis
Fr. Tom’s vocation story was always interesting: He served as president to the Serra International, a lay organization that prays for Vocations. He sold the product so well, he decided to buy it for himself. His response and the almost thirty years he served as priest show that it is never too late to listen to the voice of the Lord and to respond to His call.
As I return to the parish for another weekend, I invite you to take time to remember those who have been part of your journey of Faith and what they have taught you. Look around and see who may be waiting for your invitation – no matter what the age! – to serve the Lord in a life dedicated to His Church. An be sure to listen to the voice of the Lord in your own heart. What extraordinary things does the Lord want to do through you?