Catholic Educator Awarded Francis Medal

HNP Communications Around the Province

PATERSON, N.J. — Edward Higgins, OFM, a history teacher at Paterson Catholic High School here, awarded the Province’s Francis Medal recently to the Father Hugh Murphy, who he says, “has a true generosity of spirit.”

Ed, who presented the award on Sept. 12, said that Fr. Murphy “is a courageous advocate for the Catholic education of children, especially the poor. He has bravely stood up for the children and the school. He has worked tirelessly for the poor.” He ministers at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Stirling, N.J. 

Fr. Murphy was a religion teacher at Paterson Catholic and later became its first president. “He and I became good friends when I first started teaching in 1996,” Ed said.

“He has provided a true Christian example for the children. He encourages them, he advocates for them, and at times, he admonishes them. I have known ‘Murph’ for 12 years. In that time he always has something good to say about everyone,” said Ed. 

“There have been times when I have had a rough day in the classroom and he has lifted my spirits with a kind word and a gentle pat on the back. We have laughed together and commiserated together,” said Ed, a resident of Holy Name of Jesus Friary in Manhattan

One of his great lines to the students is: “‘There is only room for one on the judgment seat. But, there is room for many on the mercy seat.’ He says what he means and lives what he says.”

At the award presentation, Fr. Murphy chatted with students. The photo above shows Fr. Murphy, Ed, and  “a gaggle of my students.”

Holy Name Province’s Francis Medal was established in 1998 by then-Provincial Minister John Felice, OFM. Recipients are given a 3-inch bronze medallion disk in a case, along with a gray parchment certificate marked with the seal of the Province.