May 16, 2013
Seniors to Embark on Service
Michael Murphy, shown with senior Lyndsay Puvel, is going to teach at a Catholic school in Texas.
Senior theology major Michael Murphy’s faith and dedication to helping others prompted him to pursue service following graduation.
For the past three years, Murphy has participated at least once in nearly all of the service opportunities offered by Campus Ministry. He has served as the site leader for St. Ann’s Infant and Maternity Home, as a weekly intern and volunteer at A Simple House of Saints Francis and Alphonsus in Southeast Washington, D.C., and as both a resident assistant and a resident minister.
Murphy, of Broadview Heights, Ohio, was recently accepted to the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE). Through the program, he will spend the next two years teaching fourth grade in an under-resourced Catholic school in Fort Worth, Texas, and studying during the summers for a master’s in education at the University of Notre Dame.
“My faith is very strongly shaped by that [Bible verse from] Matthew 25: ‘What you’ve done for the least of my brothers you’ve done for me,’” Murphy said. “That’s really where I see my faith and where I see Christ, in service to the poor, and where I find myself. It’s just become such a part of what I do. I really enjoy the opportunity to serve.”
Murphy is one of 12 seniors who plan to commit to a year or more of service in the United States or abroad following graduation.
At the Baccalaureate Mass on Friday, May 17, the CUA community will recognize and pray for Murphy and the other students pursuing long-term service; seven men and women beginning military service; and 10 undergraduate students and seminarians who are following a vocation to the priesthood or religious life.
“The Catholic University community should be extremely proud of the response by our graduating students and their commitment to global and domestic service to the poor, to the country and to the church,” said Brother Jim Moore, O.F.M. Conv., associate campus minister for justice and missions.
“Significant numbers of Catholic University students participate in service projects or international mission trips every year and they’re moved to incorporate the experiences and the values learned into their professional careers and vocations.”
Murphy’s first experience with ACE was in his own high school where an ACE teacher taught religion for two years.
“He was just a crazy teacher who really helped you understand theology and think about the faith. He’d be teaching you about how real God is and he’d come in with a baseball bat and start smacking the desks with it. He was just outrageous,” Murphy said. “He was so passionate and went out of his way to make things interesting, to make sure you didn’t forget it.”
Murphy sees the program as an opportunity to continue in service while developing professionally and gaining teaching experience. He hopes to continue teaching after ACE or to work in campus ministry at a high school or university to coordinate service and community outreach.
“What I liked about ACE is they have such a strong Catholic identity. You’re teaching in Catholic schools that are typically lower income and under-resourced. Because they have younger ACE teachers there, they’re able to provide tuition at a lower cost, which is a big deal,” he says.