Former Palmerston North Diocese manager knighted

Tony Murphy Papal Knight

Pope Francis has honoured the former diocese manager for the Catholic Diocese of Palmerston North with the title Knight of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great for his service to the church.

The award was presented to Tony Murphy at a ceremony at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Palmerston North on Tuesday.

Recently-retired Murphy – who was the diocese manager for 18 years where he worked locally and nationally – says the award recognises the entire church.

“Across the diocese there are a lot of unsung heroes making our community, making our parish, making our country a better place by what they’re doing.

I felt I was being recognised for something I was being paid to do. This is a recognition not just of me, but for the work of the diocese for the past 20 years.”

During his time as the diocese manager, Murphy supervised staffing, co-ordinated chaplaincies and was an advisor to parish councils, finance committees and school boards of trustees.

With the national Catholic Church, he was a member of the New Zealand Bishops Federation finance committee, a committee member for the New Zealand Catholic Insurance Scheme and an executive chairman for a committee establishing a new Catholic Education Office in Palmerston North.

At the presentation, Cardinal John Dew said Murphy had a reputation for being kind, friendly, supportive and someone who listened.

“It wasn’t just for the work Tony did, it was the way he did it, his personal character and reputation. The wonderful way Tony interacted with people in Palmerston North.”

Catholic bishop emeritus of Palmerston North, Peter Cullinane, said the award recognised outstanding service to the church.

“Tony’s service goes well beyond anything that’s normally written in a job description.”

“He combined professional skills and common sense with good judgment and compassion.”

The Order of Saint Gregory the Great was established in 1831.

It honours citizens of papal states and is given to people who are distinguished for personal character and reputation and for notable accomplishments.


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  • Image: Diocese of Palmerston North Communications Team
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