Fr. Pat Moore – June 1957 – May 2017
From the first moment I met Moore I sensed that he was different. He saw things differently; he seemed to have a different lens on the World to the rest of us, one that allowed him into “mystery”, just like all the great philosophers, poets and artists. He never flaunted that great gift that God had given him and like all truly gifted ones he used it in a positive and productive way. He faced many gigantic challenges in his life but he never gave way to despair but rode it out and saw God’s gift in it, likewise he saw gift and goodness in people. He had a healthy unorthodoxy which both challenged and inspired. His creative spirit only took full flight when he was appointed as Parish Priest in 2004. A friend sent me a copy of his book “Weathering A Storm”. I asked him what did he think of it? He said “typical Moore”. Here is the last entry which for me, sums up Moore.
Tuesday, August 16th, 2016
The Fine Day Brings Us Out!
Brightness is always brought into my life and the kitchen by Donie Keeffe. It’s difficult to encounter Donie without a laugh. Joan and Helena are in a continual state of bliss as a result of this! But it is Anna, his 16 year old daughter that is a continual source of joy and mystery to us all. In her 16 years, she has opened up pathways into mystery for all of us that we will have scarcely acknowledged were it not for consciously following her guiding light. Fine days aren’t just to do with weather, but when the weather comes out, we all make for the open spaces.
Yesterday on Littor Strand I met a neighbour who turned 80 since we last met. An improvement I saw in him!
“Do you see my mouth?” he said, “I lost one of my front teeth!”
And he had. “What are you going to do about it?” his family asked him.
“Accept it”. He said, “Didn’t it do its job long enough!”
I recalled for him an incident that happened to myself while waiting for treatment in the Cork hospital last month. A polite silence settled on the waiting patients. We keep our distance yet there is an accepting, nourishing presence there. Enter a patient I hadn’t seen before. A Corkman.
“Where are you from?” He said to me. “I haven’t seen you here before”.
Within earshot of all twelve of us he began his interrogation of me. “And what part of Kerry?”
“Do you know my cousins?” he asked, naming a family I had heard of.
“Big people” I replied.
“They took me to a pub, The Thatch, on the road to Tarbert”
“Would that be on the road to Ballybunion?” I helpfully added.
“No,” he informed me, “you would go to Ballybunion if you were taking the ferry to Clare. There is another good pub near it closer to Tarbert, what’s its name?”
“Would it be Tomaseens?” I suggested.
“That’s it, a great pint there”. I realized at this stage that he wasn’t too good on geography and wasn’t for correcting either!. Anyway, why should a fact get in the way of a good story?
“Where do you have the cancer?” he probed. I gave as clear an explanation I could and detailed the treatment I was going through. I feared his next question since I expected it to be about my profession, so to deflect I decided to be as bold as himself and asked where he had it. His face and chest filled with air and joy collectively.
“Down there” he pointed, “in the playground area!”. All twelve of us erupted in laughter and he told us, “they all laugh when I tell them that, nurses and doctors as well.”
Thankfully I was called soon but the humour, naturalness, and earthiness made the day for all of us, as did the man missing the tooth I met yesterday on Littor Strand.
At Pat’s funeral mass his nephew Shane from Claremorris spoke (another chip off the old Moore block). He recalled a story about Pat coming home from Rome as a priest and being sent out to save the hay. Being the curious man that he was during the day he noticed a group of cyclists whom he approached and chatted to. They were Italians and Pat spoke to them in Italian. They asked how come he spoke Italian to which Pat roguishly replied “that they were now passing through the Italian speaking part of North Kerry”. Typical Moore.
Rest in Peace —— Tim Hazelwood
Pat Moore, a priest of Kerry diocese, has died. I couldn’t say that I knew Pat that well, or that I was a close friend of his, but I knew him enough to know that he was one of the great people. Most people, when they die, leave some form of lacuna behind them; Pat has left a major one.
Pat had extraordinary personal magnetism; you just felt good being around him; he gave you his full attention, as if you were the most important person he was going to meet that day. And he always had words of praise and encouragement for you. He had a freedom within himself that allowed him to give his full attention to others; a man without ego.
He was a priest, and his priesthood was important to him. But he was someone who managed to be a marvellous priest while remaining free from institutional thinking. His mind was too broad and open for that. His vision wasn’t just for the Church, or Catholicism, but for all people. So it really didn’t matter to him if a person was going to Mass or not. Pat reached out to all in his own inimitable way.
Pat was artistic. He had a great love of poetry and literature, and was also involved in film making. Whatever eternity is like, I am sure he will have great conversations with two people he was close to in this life, John Moriarty and John O’Donoghue.
I was at the launch of the book he wrote about his sickness some months ago. I have been to many book launches, but none quite like that evening in Listowel. The crowd was enormous, and up front, among those doing the launch, there were no dignatories, no clerics or bishops, just the ordinary people of Duagh and environs, where he was parish priest until sickness took over. And they loved him; everything about the evening proclaimed that loud and clear.
He will be missed.
Pat had a deep faith, but his God was not a distant being in a heavenly existence. Pat’s God was alive and real for him among the people and the hinterland of north Kerry. He was as much at home with that God as he was with his neighbours, and was for those of us who knew him a reflection of the face of God.
I am sad that he has died; but I am so glad that I knew him.
May he rest in peace.