May 10, 2019

Msgr. Lawrence Moran served in Terre Haute Deanery for 40 years

By Sean Gallagher

Msgr. Lawrence MoranRetired Msgr. Lawrence Moran died on May 4 at Providence HealthCare in St. Mary-of-the-Woods. He was 91.

The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on May 8 at St. Patrick Church in Terre Haute. Archbishop Charles C. Thompson was the principal celebrant of the liturgy. Father John Hollowell was the homilist.

Burial followed in the priests’ circle at Calvary Cemetery in Terre Haute.

At the time of his death, he had been a priest for 67 years and was the longest-serving priest among current archdiocesan priests. He served in Terre Haute Deanery parishes for 40 of those years, retiring as pastor of St. Patrick Parish in 2005. In retirement, he ministered as the chaplain of the Carmelite Monastery of St. Joseph in Terre Haute until 2014.

Carmelite Mother Anne Brackman, the monastery’s prioress, knew Msgr. Moran over his decades of ministry in west central Indiana.

The cloistered contemplative nun was amazed at how Msgr. Moran sought to proclaim the Gospel through a broad array of ministries: pastoring parishes, promoting Catholic education—including founding a Catholic high school—conducting more than 800 interviews on a Catholic radio station in Terre Haute, running a soup kitchen, counselling people suffering from addictions and serving as a spiritual director.

“His zeal for evangelization was quite remarkable,” Mother Anne said.

But as active as Msgr. Moran was in his ministry, she knew that it flowed from a deep interior life of prayer focused on the Eucharist.

“The Eucharist was central to his life,” Mother Anne said. “That’s where I believe he gained his strength, really.”

He encouraged others to share in the source of his strength by starting a perpetual adoration chapel at St. Patrick Parish in 1998. It was only the second such chapel in the archdiocese at the time. Now there are 13.

Father Jonathan Meyer was impressed by Msgr. Moran’s love of the Eucharist when he first met him in 2003 at a convocation of archdiocesan priests shortly before he was ordained a priest,

There was a room where the meeting was taking place where the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in a tabernacle. Then-transitional Deacon Meyer kept seeing an older priest coming to the room to pray. It was Msgr. Moran.

“His life of prayer was a witness to me,” said Father Meyer, pastor of All Saints Parish in Dearborn County. “He very much believed in eucharistic‑centered prayer. And he knew that from that life of prayer was to come evangelization. It was a game-changer in my own life.”

And like Msgr. Moran, Father Meyer has also shared the strength of the Eucharist with others, starting two perpetual adoration chapels.

Msgr. Moran, who had been a priest for more than 50 years when Father Meyer was ordained, served as the younger priest’s spiritual director for a decade.

“He was so gifted in knowing what questions to ask to have you talk about what’s going on in your soul,” Father Meyer said. “And in his great humility, it wasn’t about him. It was about looking at an encounter with another human being as an encounter with Christ. Where is Christ working in this person’s life, and how can I help them proclaim it?”

Msgr. Moran helped many Catholics in the Terre Haute Deanery proclaim Christ through the ministry initiatives he began, according to Mother Anne.

“If he came up with the idea and people embraced it, he let them take over,” she said. “It was then their responsibility. He enabled the laity to take their responsibility for their faith life and carry it out.”

Mark Fuson and his wife Susan, both members of St. Patrick Parish in Terre Haute, lived out their faith that was strengthened by Msgr. Moran by helping care for him in his later years.

“He was a humble, genuine and kind man,” said Mark Fuson. “He was a great friend. I never heard him say a cross word about anybody.”

In addition to helping lay Catholics share in the ministry of the Church, Msgr. Moran was also dedicated to encouraging priestly and religious vocations.

“He never left a stone unturned to foster a vocation,” Mother Anne said.

Father Richard Eldred knows this from experience. For some time, the pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Bedford and St. Mary Parish in Mitchell said “no” when Msgr. Moran would suggest that God might be calling him to be a priest. But when Father Eldred eventually opened himself to the possibility, he entered priestly formation and was ordained in 1999.

During the past 20 years, Father Eldred has followed in the footsteps of Msgr. Moran in many ways: beginning two perpetual adoration chapels, supporting evangelization through Catholic radio and helping people in need. And like Msgr. Moran, he doesn’t seek credit for such initiatives, simply describing them as “just being a priest and doing what needs to be done.”

“But at least I had a good teacher,” Father Eldred said. “I’m thankful for his part in my vocation and priesthood.”

Lawrence Joseph Moran was born on May 8, 1927, in Indianapolis to Lawrence and Loretta (Brouillette) Moran. He grew up as a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Indianapolis, attending its school for eight years.

He then became an archdiocesan seminarian and received priestly formation for 12 years at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad.

Archbishop Paul C. Schulte ordained Msgr. Moran a priest on May 3, 1952, at the Archabbey Church of Our Lady of Einsiedeln in St. Meinrad. Msgr. Moran celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving at Our Lady of Lourdes Church the following day.

His first pastoral assignment was as associate pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Indianapolis, where he ministered from 1952-55. He also served as associate pastor of the former St. Anne Parish in Terre Haute from 1955‑57, St. Bartholomew Parish in Columbus and Holy Trinity Parish in Edinburgh from 1957-59, and the former St. Andrew Parish in Richmond from 1959-67.

Msgr. Moran also taught at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis from 1952‑55 and the former Paul C. Schulte High School in Terre Haute from 1957-59.

In 1967, Msgr. Moran began ministry as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Rockville and administrator of the former Immaculate Conception Mission in Montezuma, continuing as pastor of the Rockville faith community until 1985. From 1985 until his retirement in 2005, Msgr. Moran served as pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Terre Haute.

St. John Paul II gave him the title of monsignor as a prelate of honor in 1997.

From his retirement from parish ministry in 2005 until 2014, he served as chaplain of the Carmelite Monastery of St. Joseph in Terre Haute.

In 2002, Indiana Gov. Frank O’Bannon presented the Sagamore of the Wabash award to Msgr. Moran for his work in supporting people with addictions. In 2005, Msgr. Moran received a career achievement award at an archdiocesan Celebrating Catholic Schools Values gala for his strong support of Catholic education.

Surviving are his sister, Patricia Carter, of Beech Grove, two brothers, David and James Moran, both of Indianapolis, and several nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Monastery of St. Joseph, 59 Allendale, Terre Haute, IN 47802. †

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