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Fr. John Charles Moore

June 25, 2018

Homily July 2nd - Deacon Greg Rausch

My Dear Friends in Christ,

    With great sadness, I write to you of the unexpected death of the Reverend John Charles Moore, the founding pastor of Holy Family. Fr. John died in his sleep last night at his apartment in Buckingham's Choice. The viewing will take place at Holy Family Catholic Community on Monday, July 2, 2018 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial (funeral Mass) at 5:30 p.m. celebrated by Bishop Adam J. Parker. Deacon P. Greg Rausch will be preaching. A reception will take place in the John C. Moore Legacy Room immediately after the funeral. Interment will be private and will take place at a later date.

Please pray for Fr. John that he may rest in peace, sharing the comfort of the Lord he sought so much to bring to others. Please also keep Fr. John's twin brother, Jim, his sister-in-law, Joan, and his niece and nephews in your prayers.

    Fr. John was born in Philadelphia and graduated from the Christian Brothers' West Catholic High School in 1952. Even from elementary school he wanted to be a priest, but was so impressed by the teaching charism of the Brothers that he entered the community of the Christian Brothers (De La Salle Brothers) two weeks after his graduation at the age of 17. He attended De La Salle University, then taught in Pittsburgh, Washington DC, and Towson, Maryland. He spent many years in administration in these schools, and served as the president of Calvert Hall in Towson. After 23 years of service in the Christian Brothers, Fr. John responded to his childhood call and applied to the Archdiocese of Baltimore to be a priest and serve the people of the Archdiocese. He was ordained in 1978 at Saint Thomas Moore Church in Northeast Baltimore. in 1986, he was asked by then Archbishop William Borders to go to Middletown, Maryland to establish a parish and build a church.

    From the very first, Fr. John was committed to building a strong community of involved disciples. The first Mass was celebrated in Middletown High School with the community meeting there and also later in the Middletown United Methodist Church when a Saturday evening Mass was offered. Under Fr. John's guidance, the community grew larger and stronger. In 1995, ground was broken for a new church building and it was dedicated March 14, 1997. Fr. John was so proud of the fact that the church he built came to be called “the Cathedral of Middletown" by the other ministers in the area. Fr. John worked hard to make sure that people had a proper sense of ownership for the both the service and the mission of the parish. He was best known for his ability to empower the people of God and to bring out their individual talents and abilities.

    But his work was not limited to the Holy Family community. Fr. John also worked to establish and build bridges with all of the other area ministers and communities. Fr. John established the Ministerium of the Middletown Valley gathering the area ministers into a working group of committed and dedicated men and women whose purpose was to serve God‘s people – all God's people. Even the local non-Catholic cemeteries gave John permission to bury his people in their cemeteries. I spoke recently with the Reverend Dr. Susan Halse, the retired pastor of Middletown United Methodist Church who spoke so highly of Fr. John and his efforts in these areas. She commented on his persistence and his faithfulness in helping the larger community live out the Gospel call. The Ministerium continues to meet regularly and work to serve God's people.

  Between the ages of 17 and 70 John labored in the field of many ministries. An important part of his ministry was his unique ability to connect with people. He walked daily in Frederick Towne Mall for exercise and to meet people at their level. When that mall closed, he traveled to Francis Scott Key Mall and walked daily, even after retirement. When he moved to Buckingham's Choice, he continued the practice of connecting with people. He chose a corner area of the home to minister daily for two hours, greeting and talking to all of God‘s people, providing guidance to whoever asked, including as he said, when it was "only directions to a rest room."

    Even his students never forgot him. The high school class of 1960 in Pittsburgh invited him to celebrate their 50th Reunion. When they heard that he was no longer driving, they sent a car for him. He agreed to come, but only with the stipulation that he return the very next day to celebrate Masses at Saint John's in Frederick where he was helping out on Sunday mornings.

    On a personal note, as a pastor, I have been blessed by Fr. John in so many ways. I have inherited not only the community he began but so much more. So many of our practices here at Holy Family were the traditions he started. He certainly had a particular way of doing things but he worked with people to help bring them on board to share a common vision of the Gospel call. This is, I think, his legacy: the community that he founded and the people that he served. It crosses parish lines, reaches out to other faiths and denominations, and serves even those of no faith.  I am blessed to be part of his legacy and to reap so much from the seeds he sowed.

    Again, please keep Fr. John in your prayers that this faithful servant of the Gospel may know the reward promised by Jesus Christ to the good and faithful steward. Please also keep Fr. John’s family in your prayers.

 Peace,

Fr. Rob