Thursday, 30 August 2012 11:08
+ Fr. Theodore Murnane, SVD
Father Theodore Murnane, Father Ted to his confreres and friends, was a dedicated priest and a diligent religious-missionary of the Divine Word. He loved to read, particularly on subjects such as academic administration, mathematics and philosophy. As a priest, he was thoughtful to others, joyful in carrying out his religious and community duties and conscientious in his prayer life.
Fr. Ted was born at Utica, Syracuse, NY, on September 25, 1930. His parents were Theodore Bernard Murnane, a civil engineer, and his wife Dorothy Kelly. They had four sons and a daughter. Ted finished his elementary schooling in 1945, getting himself acquainted with the Society of the Divine Word through the visit of an SVD priest to the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Utica. He entered the SVD high school seminary in 1945 and was accepted to the novitiate at Conesus, NY in 1949. He then went to the Divine Word College at Epworth, Iowa in 1951-53. From 1953-59, Ted studied philosophy and theology at the Divine Word Seminary in Techny, Illinois.
On September 8, 1951, Ted professed his First Vows at the Divine Word Seminary in Conesus, and his Perpetual Vows on September 8, 1957 at the Divine Word Seminary in Techny. It was at Techny where he was ordained priest on March 29, 1959, after which he spent a pastoral year in Washington, DC. While assigned to teach mathematics in Techny beginning in 1961, the young Fr. Ted took up studies in music even as he was already an accomplished trumpet player. In 1968 he earned a Master’s degree in Music Composition from De Paul University in Chicago, Illinois. His music students and the seminary choir members found him a rather meticulous music master who would require perfect pitch at every note; that’s how keen was his ear for music.
Fr. Ted joined the 1967-68 SVD Renewal Course in Nemi, Italy before his transfer to the University of San Carlos in February 1969. For more than forty years Fr. Ted faithfuly served USC in various capacities. His Philippine appointment turned out to be his first and only overseas SVD assignment. During his early years in USC, he wanted to pioneer a degree program in music aimed at eventually establishing the University’s own conservatory of music. Instead Fr. Ted served as Dean of the then College of Liberal Arts for several years. He continued his priestly ministry in the University by getting himself involved in the religious activities of the community, presiding and preaching at Masses, assisting in recollections and hearing confessions. In the 1980s Fr. Ted was Rector of the USC SVD community for at least two terms.
Earlier in 1975 his superiors appointed him as Director of Research, that is, at the time of the implementation of the Filipinization of Philippine schools. Later on the office evolved into the Office of Research and Human Resource Development. With this dual role, Fr. Ted also became actively involved in various phases of academic accreditation and was instrumental in promoting and coordinating the University’s research activities as well as in establishing academic linkages and partnerships with various universities in the country and abroad, particularly with Dutch universities and funding institutions that brought to USC the NUFFIC project. He also initiated linkages with SVD universities, namely Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan; Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei, Taiwan; and the Catholic University of Kupang in Timor, Indonesia. As Director of International Linkages, Fr. Ted helped arrange programs for research and internships for visiting professors and exchange students as well as visits of USC administrators to universities in the United States, Europe and Australia. Also, he obtained scholarship funding for overseas graduate studies by USC faculty members particularly in sciences and engineering. Upon reaching the age of 77 in 2008 he retired from active ministry in the University although he continued to serve as an academic consultant.
His health slowly began to decline after having been diagnosed with prostate cancer but Fr. Ted continued serving the University and inspiring the SVD community in various small ways. He died of multiple organ failure due to prostate cancer at Perpetual Succour Hospital in Cebu City on Wednesday morning, 29 August 2012.
His body lies in state at USC Downtown Campus Chapel along P. del Rosario Street, Cebu City. Interment will be at Evergreen Memorial Park in Talisay City immediately after the Mass of the Resurrection at eight-thirty in the morning on Saturday, 1 September 2012.
Requiescat in pace.
Source: Philippine SVD Southern Province
30 August 2012