Tim's funeral yesterday, July 3rd at Saints Anne & Joachim was beautiful. Quite fittingly, the sky was overcast, and it was raining when I arrived in Fargo. Also, July 3rd is the Feast Day of St. Thomas the Apostle, the one who famously doubted the Lord's resurrection, and then solemnly declared the faith of Christians everywhere: "My Lord and My God!
" A most fitting day, for Tim's funeral indeed.
Msgr. Robert Laliberte, the same who offered the Missa pro Defunctis
for Alan, was the principle celebrant. (https://www.ablemuse.com/erato/showthread.php?t=11796
) I con-celebrated the Funeral Mass, as did the Pastor of Saints Anne & Joachim, Fr. Paul Duchschere. I estimate about between 80-100 people were in attendance (though it's hard to estimate it since Sts. A&J is a large church.)
Tim's mortal remains were cremated and carried in the procession by his beloved brother Jim Murphy.
I was blessed with the grace of proclaiming the Gospel and Msgr. Laliberte preached the homily. He built it around three words to describe Tim: Unique, Grace and Suffering
His refection was enlightening, amusing at times and also painfully honest about Tim's struggles and his great sufferings throughout life. He praised his poetic skills, his great generosity, his service of others in the poetic craft, the sincerity of his conversion and his devotion.
In the first part of his refection based upon Tim's unique character he said some very true and funny things. He said that he had tried hard to help Tim overcome his vices and at the same time when he tried to imagine Tim without his bad habits, the Tim he knew evaporated. He also, at one point said jokingly, that when he thought about everyone he knew he didn't know of anyone who quite like Tim, or for the fact of the matter, even remotely like Tim! Which elicited quite a bit of laughter from those in attendance.
When he reflected on his second point, that of Grace, he recalled Tim's miraculous reversion to the Catholic Faith and his tenacity in maintaining that Faith despite his battle with Alcoholism. He also reflected on Alan's miraculous conversion and his translation of the Psalm's of King David as his tribute to God for the grace of his conversion. He spoke of Tim's generosity in praying for everyone he knew on a regular basis and much more.
In his third point, that of suffering, he reflected on Tim's struggle with being held up to a very high standard, even as a child, by other's and that that was a source of interior pain for him. He spoke of his having been sexually violated at an early age and how that harmed Tim immensely and caused him to leave the Faith for many decades. Msgr. said it was a priest who did this, but according to Tim it was at the hands of an older altar boy and later in life at the hands of a Jesuit novice. Which doesn't make it any better, just not factually correct (which I am certain Msgr didn't intend.) And I thought it was very appropriate and moving that Msgr Laliberte did the right thing and mentioned this, and also how Tim eventually was able to come back to the Faith through the grace and love of God. And of course, he spoke of Tim's suffering from Alcoholism and many other things.
Msgr. Laliberte wore Violet for the Mass, because it is the sign of Penance in the Church, and that Tim had lived a penitential life after his conversion, and that his final suffering from cancer was quite penitential and that Tim took it in stride and offered his suffering for his own sins, and for the sins of his loved ones. (this is known as Redemptive Suffering
in the Church, which is effected through the Christian's union with Jesus Christ Crucified for the forgiveness of sins.)
During the preparation of the Altar a young man (I think he was a friend of Tim's as he was there with his family seated in a pew for the Funeral Mass) beautifully sung Alan and Seree's magnificent metrical translation
(Tim Murphy's voice in my head bestowing that phrase of praise) of Psalm 27. Alan and Seree's translation follows:
The Lord is my light, my salvation.
Who shall awe me?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life.
Whom shall I fear?
When the spoilers, my hateful foes,
come to consume my flesh,
they stumble and fall.
Though and army encamp against me,
I shall not be daunted.
Though war be declared against me,
I shall be unafraid.
I have asked one boon of the Lord;
I seek it still:
that I dwell in the house of the Lord
all my life's days,
beholding the Lord's resplendence,
visiting his temple.
On the day of woe,
his pavilion will conceal me.
He will hide me in his tent-flap.
He has lifted me with his might.
See! I hold my head
higher than foes around me.
Joyfully I will bring
my gifts to your abode.
I will chant and sing to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord,
The cry I voice;
have pity and answer me.
My heart adjures me:
seek out your presence.
Therefore, I yearn for you, Lord.
Hide not your visage from me,
nor banish your servant in anger.
You aided me, turn not away;
forsake me not,
my God of salvation.
When father and mother depart me
the Lord will take me up.
Instruct me, Lord, in your way;
on the level path, guide me,
for I have been hated.
Yield me not
to the will of my foes.
rose against me,
breathers of calumnies.
Yet I believed I would see
the good of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be brave; may your heart be steadied.
Wait for the Lord.
(Form: heterometric ode: trimeter, indented dimeter.)
Outside of the offering of the Sacrifice for Tim, this was perhaps the most beautiful moment of the Liturgy.
After the Funeral there was a luncheon in the Parish social hall. I was late getting there due to being caught in conversations (most pleasant.) I was one of the last to go through the serving line and was left standing with my plate looking for somewhere to sit. I was looking for Msgr. Laliberte, but for some reason I could not see him (is suspect the role of providence) so I was left standing there, probably looking a bit forlorn. A kind lady of the parish who recognized me (more than I recognized her, though she was familiar to me) came up and invited me to sit with her and two others. I took her up on it and sat down.
Tim's old hunting buddy and longtime friend Steve Syrdal began Tim's eulogy (which was well done.) The parishioner introduced me to her table companions as two poets who had traveled from Minneapolis for the Funeral. I took one look at the woman and said: "You're Maryann?" To which she said "yes." I stood up, approached her and said: "I'm Fr. Rob from the Eratosphere..." Of course, it was Maryann Corbett! And her poet traveling companion, Bill Carpenter! We were delighted.
Out of all the tables, I ended up sitting with Maryann and Bill! We were the only three Eratospherians present and we ended up, unintentionally on our part (but, perhaps intentionally on God's) seated together. After the eulogy was over Mayann and I enjoyed conversing of Tim and the old days and about her and Bill's latest projects. I also thanked Maryann for her heavy lifting at the Sphere, in what seems a lifetime ago though it wasn't that long ago) and I apologized for any heart burn I may have caused her, to which she was most gracious. She jokingly mentioned the task of herding a bunch of poets as being no easy thing and we both laughed about that.
I'm so glad that Maryann and Bill came to the Funeral, it was a fitting tribute and act of Love for Tim, a welcome farewell on behalf of the Sphere and a personal blessing for me.
And, as with all things in life, we said farewell to one another and took our leave of Tim, his family and of a time now past and yet still living on in our memories.
Resquescat in Pace Timothy Iver Murphy. Amen.
PS: Mayann or Bill, please feel free to correct anything above, if I have erred in my recollection of Tim's funeral.