By Lucy Ackanyon
In solemn posture, pupils and staff of St Dominic’s Nursery and Primary School, Shachi, Makurdi on Tuesday (28 Nov, 2023) gathered around the grave of the founder of the school, late Very Revered Fr Michael Murphy, CSSP, to pray for the repose of his soul, one year after the widely loved priest of Makurdi diocese passed on to glory at the age of 90 years.
In their company was the current local proprietor of the school and Director Catholic Educational services, Makurdi Very Rev. Fr Peter Akpagher who led prayers for the departed clergy and other departed souls, at the tomb located in St Dominick High School, Tse.
At the end of the prayer and blessing of the tomb, the pupils adorned the grave with flowers in admiration for their lost founder and recognition of his service to humanity.
Earlier, a memorial Mass was held for the late Fr Murphy at St Dominic Catholic Church Shachi, his last port of duty before he took ill and died last year which was heavily.
It was mixed feeling for both pupils and staff of St Dominic’s school on one hand and parishioners of St Dominic’s Parish Shaci as they recount their cherished memories with their late founder.
In her reaction, the Head Teacher of St Dominic Nursery School, Mrs Victoria Okamgba wrote, “I woke with mixed feelings today. It is a year already. You left us on this date to be with our creator, we miss you but God loves you more, we know you are seated at the right hand of God interceding for us. We are doing well to the glory of God.”
Another staff of the school Miss Gina Dyo recounted that
“On this day last year, our school was a river of tear. Both the staff and pupils refused to be consoled. Our founder’s death was a tragic event for us. Fr Murphy was very nice to us all. He never played with the welfare of teachers and treated a pupil like an angel. We will forever miss him.”
A Parishioner of St Dominic Parish Shaciu, Mrs. Philomena Wundu asserted her belief that the late Fr Murphy ‘s soul made heaven, said the late Vicar General of Makurdi Diocese lived very saintly life beginning from how he treated people to how the simplistic nature of his life style despite the affluence that surrounded him.
The late Fr Murphy, an Irish priest who served the Catholic Church in Tivland for several decades is reputed to have founded several successful catholic schools including Divine Love Catholic Girls College Katsina Ala, St Dominick High School Makurdi, and St Dominic’s nursery school Shachi. He is was also said to be the force behind massive infrastructural development in big churches including St Dominic Parish Shachi and St Peter’s Parish, Low Level, Makurdi.