Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 17, 2003
Welcoming Redemptorist priest Fr. Len Murphy dies
By RAMON GONZALEZ
“He was the most hospitable, most welcoming person you could ever find.”
- Fr. Jack Spicer
“We are all going to miss him,” said Redemptorist Father Jack Spicer, another former pastor of St. Alphonsus Parish. “He was the most hospitable, most welcoming person you could ever find.”
A gifted Redemptorist with great charisma, Murphy early on showed his organizational talent in the exceptional youth program he inspired at St. Patrick’s. The program was strong enough to attract the likes of hockey legend Jean Beliveau.
In the early 1950s, Murphy served as technical advisor to Hollywood’s Alfred Hitchcock, who shot parts of the thriller I Confess at St. Patrick’s. He also coached actor Montgomery Cliff, who starred as a priest in the movie.
For seven years Murphy was director of the Pastoral Centre of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg. In 1973-74 he did research on prayer groups in 44 American states, developing a parish mission prayer program, which he successfully introduced in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Moose Jaw.
During the late 1980s, while preaching parish missions, Murphy fell and broke his ankle leading to severe osteoporosis that curtailed his mobility and preaching career.
He retired to Vancouver’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in 1989 and stayed there until 1997, when he was transferred to Youville Centre nursing home. Even though Murphy was confined to a wheelchair for the last few years of his life, he still managed to serve as a reserve chaplain to the Royal Air Force.
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