Rev. Msgr. J. Thomas Moran 1932-2023
Msgr. J. Thomas Moran, who served as pastor of St. Bernard Parish in Youngstown for over 30 years, died Jan. 11, 2023, after 65 years of priestly ministry.
Born March 13, 1932, the son Joseph and Elizabeth (Pritchard) Moran grew up in Lockport. He attended St. John School, Emmett Belknap Junior High and Lockport High School graduating in 1949.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University in 1954, then went on to study at the Gregorian University in Rome.
He attended the Little Seminary of St. Joseph and the Little Flower in Buffalo and Christ the King Seminary at St. Bonaventure. He also attended North American College in Rome.
He was ordained Dec. 15, 1957, in Rome by Bishop Martin O’Connor, rector of the North American College.
Father Moran returned to Western New York to begin his parish ministry, first at St. Francis Cabrini Parish in Collins Center, then at St. Margaret’s in Buffalo and Holy Name in Buffalo. In 1956, he began a 12-year stay as assistant pastor at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parish in Cheektowaga. During that time, he also served as secretary to Buffalo’s Auxiliary Bishop Pius Benincasa.
In 1977, he became pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary. In 1982, he was named pastor of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Harris Hill. In May 1983, he began his 32-year term as pastor of St. Bernard’s in Youngstown. There, he founded the popular Rosary Crusade, an outdoor event that drew hundreds of pilgrims to Niagara Falls and Youngstown.
He was named a prelate of honor in May 1983.
During his decades as a priest, Msgr. Moran also served as Newman Club chaplain at Erie Community College, moderator of the Council of Catholic Women, chaplain of the Niagara Falls Fire Department, and moderator of the Rosary Crusade.
He retired in 2015.
Msgr. Moran was also a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, a Faith Friar of the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, and belonged to the Niagara Falls Country Club, a professional men’s bowling league.
Msgr. Moran will lie in state at St. Bernard Parish, Youngstown, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, from 1-5 p.m.A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at St. John the Baptist Church, 168 Chestnut St., Lockport with Bishop Michael W. Fisher as the main celebrant.