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By: Dr. Rimas Slavickas
Fr. Ron Hoye
The God Minute
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Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach
Getting to Know Father Danny Murphy.
Interviewed by Catholic Men's Ministries of Indian River County
Let’s Start Here with Danny Murphy
CMMIRCFL: Where did you come from early years growing up in NY?
FDM: I was born in Brooklyn NY.
CMMIRCFL: Family: Mother, Father, Siblings?
FDM: Both my Parents were born in the United States but their parents were born in Ireland. I have one Sister. Her name is Kathleen.
CMMIRCFL: Who got you to go to Church. Mother?
FDM: My Mother went to Church every day, my Father not every day but he went on Sundays and Holy Days.
CMMIRCFL: Did your Mom have to pull your ear every once in a while to go?
FDM: No in those days everyone went to church even the wildest guys. Our rebellion was that we used to stand in back instead of sitting down. But that was as far as we did as a rebellion.
CMMIRCFL: So you didn’t have a problem going to church?
FDM: No! All my friends went, we all went. Yes! even the wildest of us went.
CMMIRCFL: What kind of Neighborhood Blue Collar?
CMMIRCFL: What did your Father do for a living, Transit authority or something like that:?
FDM: No my father was a Fireman.
CMMIRCFL:, Did you play Baseball? Maybe short stop or second base
FDM: Yes I did play baseball loved to play. But no I started out at first base only because at a parish bazaar, I won a first basement’s glove. I was much better and more comfortable at 3rd base.
CMMIRCFL: Did you go to Catholic Grammar School? Catholic High School?
FDM: I did. I went to Catholic Grammar School and Catholic High School.
CMMIRCFL: Did you have a girlfriend in your teen years?
FDM: I did.
CMMIRCFL: Did you go to your Prom?
FDM: I did.
CMMIRCFL: Did your sister Kathleen have to teach you to dance?
FDM: She did but not well.
Young Father Danny Murphy Your Call to be a Priest
CMMIRCFL: How did you get your calling? Was it like you and your buddy Jackie were sitting in the bleachers at Ebbets Field and God tapped you on the shoulder and said we need to talk?
FDM: No it wasn’t anything like that. You know that in your Junior year of HS they ask you to start the process of filing applications for colleges and it required money to take the tests. So I was taking the entrance exams for this school and that school and my parents were paying for all these test. I really did not want to go to any of these places. I really wanted to try the seminary to see how that would work out. So finally I had the courage and integrity to say no more entrance exams, I am going to apply to the seminary.
CMMIRCFL: Did you take Latin in HS?
FDM: Yes we had to take it 3 years; I had the option of taking it the fourth year or science, I took Latin.
CMMIRCFL: Were you an Alter boy?
FDM: Yes the whole time in school. But in the parish I was in you had to resign after the eighth grade. So I did it from about the forth to the eighth grade.
CMMIRCFL: Did you have a mentor to guide you?
FDM: When I decided that I wanted to go into the Seminary, I went to my parish priest where I lived, and I asked if I could meet with him. We met regularly, not every week but often until I entered the Seminary.
CMMIRCFL: What Seminary did you attend?
FDM: Immaculate Conception Seminary Huntington Long Island .
CMMIRCFL: What was your most interesting class?
FDM: They told us what classes we had to take. But I enjoyed Psychology and I also enjoyed Sociology.
CMMIRCFL: Which classes did you find most rewarding?
FDM: Theology but it was deep but Scripture was rewarding.
CMMIRCFL: How Long were you in the Seminary?
FDM: I was in eight years, 4 years College, and 4 years Theology school.
CMMIRCFL: Describe your feeling putting on the white collar for the first time?
FDM: It felt wonderful a thrill in the first couple of years every time I put it on
CMMIRCFL: Your Ordination Mass?
FDM: It was wonderful it was in the same parish we worshiped in we never moved. All my family and friends attended.
CMMIRCFL: Describe your feeling after saying your first Mass.
FDM: I was in heaven. The trill is still there.
CMMIRCFL: Your first parish Assignment?
FDM: It was Saint Mary Star of the Sea at one time it was an Irish parish. But it was exciting times as ethnic diversity was coming into the parish when I arrived there in 1970.
CMMIRCFL: Your first homily, do you remember what you talked about. Nervous?
FDM: NO I really don’t remember my first homily but I am sure I was nervous.
CMMIRCFL: As a new Priest What excited you?
FDM: The hearing of confessions and that still excites me.
CMMIRCFL: what surprised you?
FDM: Can’t think of anything that did. I guess God prepared me.
A few years under his belt as Father Danny Murphy.
CMMIRCFL: Favorite parish. Not a fair question. Most comfortable parish?
FDM: I really didn’t have one. I was told by the Director of Personal that I was one of the guys that every assignment seems to have been good for me. I never complained. I guess God took care of me.
CMMIRCFL: Duties Ever a School Principal? If yes, Tough Job? What School? Where?
FDM: No I was never a principal although many parishes I served in had schools but you needed to have taken education courses to be a principal.
CMMIRCFL: How did you get to be the Met’s Catholic Chaplain?
FDM: That is a long convoluted story that we don’t have time for but it was all from the Grace of God. I was always a baseball fan and still am so I have to pinch myself to believe I was there. I was in their club house, I was on their, plane their buses. You name it everywhere they went, I went too.
CMMIRCFL: What a cool job that must have been?
FDM: Unbelievable. It is still a big part of me.
CMMIRCFL: How did you become a Mets fan after being a Brooklyn Dodger fan?
FDM: Well I was a Dodger fan until the guys I remembered started to be traded or retire like Gill Hodges, Duke Snider and Jackie Robinson. After that I wandered over to the Mets.
Father Danny Murphy, Today
CMMIRCFL: First, your Homilies. Do not write them?
FDM: I do. By writing them, I get a sense I am at the right length and my points get made.
CMMIRCFL: But you don’t read from them?
FDM: No I memorize them I don’t read them because I think you lose something when you look down to read them.
CMMIRCFL: Where do your homilies they come from?
FDM: Pretty much from the scriptures of the day.
CMMIRCFL: How do you know when to resonate your voice volume and take your pauses emphasizing a point or the message?
FDM: That comes naturally you learn to get quiet or pause when you get from one topic to another.
CMMIRCFL: It sounds more like tools of Public Speaking but to me, the way you do it, it can’t be nothing more than God inspired.
FDM: Thank you.
CMMIRCFL: What I see in you is Bottom Up Priest, not a Top Down Priest. Meaning you bring everyone into your conversation by beginning your homilies as a humble person. Do you see yourself that way?
Father Murphy did not answer this question he had another appointment he needed to attend and we ended the interview here.
On a Personal Note and In my Opinion: But if Father Danny Murphy did answer that final question, I believe it would have been uncomfortable for him to do so. To differentiate between a “Top down Priest” and a “Bottom up Priest”, I must say that Jesus himself was a teacher and did preach to the masses. I see most of our Catholic Priest as “Top Down Priest” preaching to the masses and this indeed is needed and is welcomed. They are in most cases Historians or Biblical Scholars that dig deep into the roots of our Christian faith and provide us with the knowledge and fortitude to live our faith. However, I must also say that Jesus himself before he was the Teacher, He was one of us. Born to a Common Virgin Woman and raised by his earthly father Joseph, a common carpenter, Jesus dwelled amongst us. And this was God’s plan. Not for a King to come down to reign but as a common man to serve His people. As the interview reveals Father Danny Murphy exemplifies this dwelling amongst the common people. For he is indeed a modest and humble Priest whose father was a New York City Fireman. A Priestly person long before he took his final vows. Father Danny Murphy is a “Bottom Up” Priest, meaning that he, as Jesus did, lived in a common man’s world. For as Jesus himself had one on one conversations with people as with the “Woman at the Well” Father Murphy too, brings all of us into his one on one conversations both by his touching and relevant homilies and by making Jesus’s Parables plausible to the common man. Father Danny Murphy teaches to the commonness in all of us that share our troubled world. I wrote, because of him “The Beauty of Christ’s Teachings are: You Learn To Feel, Before You are Taught to Touch” I believe Father Danny Murphy is a man that truly feels and by his most heartfelt feelings, touches each and every one of us and touches us in a very special and blessed way. God Bless You Danny Murphy.
Bob Borelli Co-Founder and Webmaster
Catholic Men’s Ministries of Indian River County Florida
Catholic Men’s Ministries of Indian River County Florida has two missions:
1. To get existing Catholic men to come witness our Men’s programs as to allow them to strengthen their faith as to make these men living example of Christ’s teachings for others to follow.
2. To reach out to Catholic men that have strayed from their faith as try to bring them back into the fold.
CMMIRCFL: We took Father Danny’s picture and it is the one at the top of this article and I thanked him for the interview.