Pope Francis has awarded the title Knight of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great to Tony Murphy in recognition of his outstanding service to the Church in the diocese of Palmerston North.
Mr Murphy retired from being general manager in Palmerston North diocese last year, after 18 years in the role.
The presentation of the papal award will take place at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Palmerston North on Tuesday, May 11, at 2pm. All are welcome. Afternoon tea will follow in the diocesan rooms.
At a farewell function for Mr Murphy in July last year, he was praised for his availability, and for his care and support for people across the diocese, reported the newspaper of Palmerston North diocese and Wellington archdiocese, Wel-com.
“If people were struggling in their roles, be it priests, principals or anyone in the diocese, Tony would often personally reach out to them and offer his support, take them out for a meal or a drink — things that were outside of his job description,” said Msgr Brian Walsh, reportedly.
Mr Murphy was also involved in several national committees, including the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference (NZCBC) Finance Committee.
His decision to step down as general manager came after a cancer diagnosis.
On April 18, thanks and best wishes for his “semi-retirement” were made to Msgr Walsh at a Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. Msgr Walsh stepped down from his role as local administrator for the Palmerston North diocese on January 31, Wel-com reported. He remains as vicar general for the diocese, and Fr Craig Butler is now the local administrator.
Msgr Walsh was formally farewelled as local administrator at an educational conference dinner in Palmerston North in late February.
According to the New Zealand Catholic Directory 2021, Msgr Walsh is also on the Diocesan Management Advisory Council, and is on the Council of Priests in the diocese.