Remembering Msgr. Moore

stonge_guest

I think it was sometime during the summer of 1978 that I first met Father John Moore. Looking back at our first meeting, it occurred in a somewhat of a strange way. You see, I had been away from the Church for a number of years, and had returned about three years before this meeting.

At the time Father Moore was the director of the newly-formed Permanent Diaconate program in the diocese. At that time I had no real understanding of what a deacon was. However, I kept getting a voice in my head that I was to become a deacon, and I could not get rid of it. After consulting a number of people, including my wife, and ending with my pastor, who called Father Moore about my inquiry, I was told to write Father Moore a letter of interest.

During the following few days, I wrote the letter. I wrote it in a sort of negative fashion. I informed Father Moore of my past history relative to the Church, and included every reason why I probably should not be considered for the diaconate program. Within a week or so, I received a response telling me that I was to meet personally with Father Moore. At our meeting, Father Moore started out by telling me that they had already accepted approximately 25 men into the new second class of the diaconate program, which would be commencing within a couple of months. However, he said, that he had been so intrigued by my letter, that he felt the need to personally meet me. 

We spoke together for a little more than an hour or so. At the conclusion of our meeting, he reiterated that the second class had already been formed. When I returned home that evening, I told my wife what occurred, and that I thought that was the end of it. My wife’s reply to me, however, was that if God meant it to be, it would be. Within probably no more than two weeks, I received a letter telling me, I was being accepted into the second class of the diaconate program. If it had not been for Father Moore, I would not have been ordained a deacon in 1982.

During the years of my diaconate formation period, Father Moore and I became very close friends. After my ordination, I was assigned to Father Moore’s parish, during which time, our friendship deepened over the next five years.

Not long after retiring from my secular occupation, Father Moore and I conferred, and he hired me to become the first assistant director of the Permanent Diaconate program for the Diocese of Fall River, a position I held for approximately the next seven years. Because Father Moore, at the time, held so many positions: pastor, director of the Permanent Diaconate, director of Communications, and editor of the diocesan newspaper, The Anchor; it was decided that I would oversee operations of the diaconate program on a daily basis, and Father Moore would make the really important decisions.

Father Moore was a priest devoted to God and his calling to the priesthood. He gave all his time and energies to the numerous positions he held within the Diocese of Fall River. Although he worked very hard, he still enjoyed life and the many people he encountered on a daily basis. At times he could put on a somewhat brusque appearance, which could be somewhat disarming to those who did not know him; but it was a way he tried to see within a person; to see who they really were. Father Moore loved to scrutinize and analyze people. 

But beyond all that, Father John Moore was a very, very caring and loving person, a side of him that he often tried hard to hide. Father Moore was a very special friend of mine, whom I will never forget. May he rest in peace.

Deacon Lawrence St. Onge is a retired permanent deacon from the Diocese of Fall River.


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