bcg_fathermurphy__web.jpgMIAMI — Rev. James P. Murphy, 68, died at 1:40 a.m., Feb. 8, nearly five years after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma — a cancer of the blood — and more than two years after retiring  as pastor of Our Lady of the Lakes, where he had been assigned since 1996.

Prior to Our Lady of the Lakes, he was pastor of St. Patrick on Miami Beach from 1981 to 1996, and before that he worked at the archdiocesan Office of Youth Ministry from 1976 to 1983. His first assignments in South Florida were as Parochial Vicar at Annunciation Church in Hollywood from 1970 to 1972, St. Louis in Pinecrest from 1972 to 1975, St. Michael in Miami from 1975 to1979 and St. Mary Magdalen in Sunny Isles Beach from 1979 to 1981. From 2002 until his illness in 2009, he also served as chaplain to the Miami Hurricanes football team.

Throughout his life he cared deeply for the poor, often taking money out of his own pocket to help people in need, said a statement from the Archdiocese of Miami. An amateur chef, Murphy would cook dinner every Thanksgiving for those who were alone, elderly or did not have a place to go for the holiday. He also always made room in his rectories for priests who were ill or dying.

During his years as pastor of Our Lady of the Lakes, parishioners built 10 Habitat for Humanity homes, set annual records for donating more than 1,000 pints of blood, and tithed 10 percent of the weekly collection — $500,000 over five years — to the poorest of the poor in South Florida and abroad.

The wake is set for Friday, Feb. 14, from 7:30 to 10 p.m., at Our Lady of the Lakes, 15801 NW 67th Ave., Miami Lakes, with the funeral Mass Saturday, Feb. 15, at 10 a.m., also in the church. Burial will follow at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery in Doral.

He is survived by six brothers and sisters and many nieces and nephews, many of whom will be traveling from Ireland for the funeral.