Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Right Rev. Monsignor Tim Murphy ’73 M.Ed. — Christus Magister Medal

Monsignor Tim Murphy, in many and amazing and entertaining ways the face and voice and cheerful symbol of Central Catholic High School in Portland for nearly forty years, was himself a fine student at the school in southeast Portland—president of his class, star baseball player, and excellent basketball player. But it was the priesthood that was Tim Murphy’s dream, and after seminary training he was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Portland in 1967.

For all his herculean labors at Central Catholic High, he has also been a tireless servant to the Church in Oregon, serving in 17 parishes, so far. Born in 1940, baptized and schooled at All Saints, Tim attended Santa Clara University for a year, the University of Portland for a year (1959-1960), and then Saint Thomas Seminary in Washington, where he earned his bachelor’s (in philosophy) and master’s (in divinity) degrees; after ordination, he then returned to The Bluff, while serving in St. Charles and Holy Cross parishes, to earn his master’s degree in education. A man of quiet but startling energy then as now, Tim also started a fifteen year teaching career at Central Catholic in 1968. In 1983 he went to Regis High in Stayton to be principal for seven years, but eventually returned again to Central, this time as principal (1990-1995), president (1995-2008), and now president emeritus.

For all that Tim is famous in Portland, in Oregon, and in the Pacific Northwest, as the very embodiment of the mission of his school, he has been a gracious servant to the Church he loves, helping out as pastor, assistant, or guest in nearly every parish in metro Portland: Saints Anthony, Charles, Therese, Catherine of Siena, John the Baptist, Francis, Agatha, Patrick, Mary of the Valley, and John Fischer, as well as Holy Family, Immaculate Conception, Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady of the Lake, and Sacred Heart. He also served a year as chaplain at Mount Saint Joseph’s Nursing Home in Portland. It is also probably an inarguable fact that Tim

Murphy has, in his nearly fifty years as a cheerful, witty, generous priest, baptized more children, celebrated the marriage of more couples, and celebrated the lives of more Catholics who have gone home to the Light than any other priest in Portland—a remarkable thing to say, but indicative of Tim’s conviction that a priest is a servant of the faithful, and available for any and all holy moments.

Suitably enough it is Central Catholic High that has most pithily summed up its beloved Monsignor Murphy; when Tim was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2010, his plaque was both epic and terse: Beloved Priest, Friend to All, and Spiritual Leader. The University of Portland today agrees wholeheartedly with those compliments, and awards Tim its highest honor, the Christus Magister Medal (“Christ the Teacher”) for the grace and generosity and prayer of his life and work.