Celebrating a birthday is a fun occasion for many, but for one Olmitz resident it marks a mile stone of selfless service to his community.
The Rev. Ultan Murphy celebrated his 90th birthday on Friday at his private home in Olmitz.
“I got everything I wanted for my birthday,” Murphy said. “It was a wonderful day and I am happy to be blessed by God.”
Murphy was appointed pastor at Olmitz and Holy Trinity, Timken, in 1980. He served both parishes for 23 years until he announced his retirement in 2003.
He reconsidered, and his responsibilities were reduced to the Olmitz parish at that time. His official title also changed to “parochial administrator.”
He officially retired on Jan. 3, 2014.
“The Olmitz community will benefit from having a retired priest as a resident. I’ll do what I do now,” Murphy said. “(I’ll) say Mass every day, visit the sick, just fill in if I’m needed. They’re not going to miss me. No, I’ll be here; I’ll be around. I don’t go home to Ireland any more. My nieces and nephews come over here every few years. No need for me to go. With communication now, it’s just like being there – almost.”
Murphy was ordained June 7, 1953, by The Most Reverend John Staunton, bishop of Ferns, at St. Peter’s Seminary, Wexford, Ireland.
He was recruited for the Diocese of Wichita, but was transferred to the Diocese of Dodge City by agreement of Bishop Mark K. Carroll and Bishop John B. Franz. He has served under all six of the bishops who have shepherded the Diocese of Dodge City.
Father Murphy’s assignments include: assistant pastor at St. John, Hoisington, (two terms); St. Rose of Lima, Great Bend; ad pastor at St. Mary’s Loretto; St. John’s, Kiowa; St. John, St. John; St. Francis, Seward; Holy Rosary, Medicine Lodge; and again in St. John’s, Kiowa, all prior to his appointment at Olmitz and Timken.
“After having served these people, I can say without any reservations, they’re just good people,” he said. “All solid people, many from Eastern Europe, who brought the faith with them and kept the faith and are doing their best to pass that on to their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I’ve seen it in all of my 33 years.”