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50 Years a Priest, 50 Years a Community Legend

Fr Tommy

50 Years a Priest, 50 Years a Community Legend

Today Fr Thomas “Tommy” Murphy celebrated his golden jubilee in St James’ Church in a ceremony presided over by Bishop Eamonn Walsh and past moderators and priests of the church (including, Fr Denis Laverty, Fr Ivan Tonge and Fr Jimmy Mc Partland).  Fr Tommy, a former moderator himself, received a round of applause when he entered the packed church.  The mass brought together many familiar faces from Fr Tommy’s past, who joined together to pay tribute to a man who spent a life in the service of both God and the community.

In a time when the Church has suffered many controversies, which has greatly affected attendance and support, there are none in this area who would dare utter a bad word about the Sheriff Street priest.  Fr Tommy, when moderator of St James’, was renowned for his dedication in visiting the housebound elderly, the frightened sick in hospital, while retaining a friendly, down to earth ear to anyone with a problem.  Known for his sense of humour and warm jovial manner, people feel naturally at ease with him.  It is then, in no way surprising, to see the church filled as it was for his celebration. Fr Tommy’s understanding ear stemmed from his strong belief in social justice in an area of low public funding and social deprivation it made him the perfect priest for the locality.

Fr Tommy arrived to St James’ Parish in 1984 serving under Fr Denis Laverty, he quickly established himself as an approachable face and a well loved Man City fan (hard to come by).  In 1994, upon the departure of Fr Dennis, Fr Tommy became St James’ moderator, a position he held until his retirement in 2009 where he worked diligently with the local community.

Fr Tommy internet

Fr Tommy Launching St James Parish new website

Emotional at the warm support and love from his former parishioners and friends, Fr Tommy said his thanks as he was invited to launch the new St James’ parish website ( All were invited back for a delicious spread presented at the Parish centre courtesy of the Parish team.  Well done to Fr John Collins, Celia and Monica and all the parish team for organising the event.

And Well Done, Fr Tommy, the people of James’ Street will always be grateful for your important service to the community, here’s to another 50 years!

Fr Tommy cake

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