Biographies

Father J. Maynard Murphy, MM

Born: September 13, 1903
Ordained: June 19, 1927
Died: May 4, 1977

Father J. Maynard Murphy died at 7 a.m. (China Standard Time [CST]), Wednesday, May 4 in Taiwan. Assigned to China and Taiwan continuously since 1927, he had one of the longest records of continuous Maryknoll service overseas.

Born in Montreal, Canada, on September 13, 1903, he attended parochial schools and Eymard Seminary, and joined Maryknoll, September 9, 1919. Ordained June 19, 1927, he was assigned immediately to Kaying, China, returning to the U. S. and Canada only for decennial leaves in 1937 and 1947. Forced by the communists to leave mainland China, he reached Hong Kong in October 1952. He helped prepare a Hakka-French Dictionary in Hong Kong; he was assigned to Miaoli, the Hakka-speaking area of Taiwan, where he worked closely for more than 20 years with Bishop Frederick A. Donaghy. Aside from four more trips back to the U. S. and Canada, he remained in Miaoli until the time of his death.

Invited last fall to come to Maryknoll for the fiftieth anniversary this June of his ordination, his characteristic reply was: “I think it’s nice, but will have a bowl of rice here, and maybe a little glass of something – with my cook and catechist – no doubt the people will be at Mass, etc. ‘So thank you for the Early Congratulations!’ I hope and feel I will be around, unless the good God has other plans – – He could, at my age, you know.” Our prayer must be that, after 50 years in the priesthood and 50 years in China, he receive the Lord’s blessing and reward for his long and devoted missionary service.

Mass of the Resurrection was concelebrated for Father Murphy in the Society Chapel at Maryknoll, New York, at 12 noon on Thursday, May 5. Mass also was said for Father Murphy at 8 p.m., Friday, May 6, at Tung-Lo Parish, Miaoli, Taiwan. The Funeral Mass was concelebrated at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 7, at St. Anne’s Church, South Miaoli, Taiwan, with burial following in Miaoli.