I enjoyed reading the article in the Great Bend Tribune: “Oldest Catholic priest in Kansas turns 90” (Jan 6 issue). Most of my late mother’s Riedl, Hampel, Kober, Lux, Reimer, and Navratil ancestors trace our ancestral roots back to Olmitz. Additionally, my mom has Bahr, Schneider, Rabenseifner, Schenk, and other relatives in and around the Olmitz and Otis vicinity.
I have been to Olmitz numerous times and know the Rev. Ultan Murphy personally. He has had an exceptional career and an exceptional life. Fr. Murphy is not only a priest, but a “friend” that many people can count-on.
I am amazed that Fr. Murphy was ordained as a priest at Wexford, Ireland in the year 1953, a full decade before I was born in 1963. Thus, he has been a priest all my life and more. Plus, in an era where Catholic priests are often transferred every few years, I am glad that Fr. Murphy was appointed pastor at the Olmitz and Timken parishes in 1980, officially retiring in 2014. That is an impressive record of service. Furthermore, Fr. Murphy put down “roots” in the communities which have transcended multiple generations.
I salute him on his 90th birthday. His being the “Oldest Living Priest in Kansas” is quite a distinction. There is a secondary moment of joy for me. I know Fr. Murphy and am thankful for his friendship. The day after his birthday, my mother’s first-cousin, a Catholic nun, Sister Philomena Bahr, who grew-up at Olmitz turned age 91 the following day on Jan. 7, 2017, at the Sisters Adorers of the Blood of Christ convent in Wichita. I spoke to her via phone. She knows Fr. Murphy quite well also.
The community of Olmitz has been blessed with men and women who are devout spiritually. I thank them for their endeavors and wish them well.
James A. Marples,