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PRIEST SERVES GOD AWAY FROM PULPIT, TOO
SOCIAL SERVICES ARE A MAJOR FOCUS

In his work as a Catholic priest and the executive director of a social service agency, the Rev. Terry Moore touches nearly every spiritual and human aspect of people's lives.

"My service allows me to blend ministerial duties at the church (St. Thomas More) and social service responsibilities at Catholic Community Services," said the Rev. Moore, who came to Utah from Ireland when he was 24 years old.He has been pastor for four years at the southeast Salt Lake County parish and director for two years of Catholic Community Services. Before that he was pastor at a number of other churches, chaplain at the Newman Center at the University of Utah, state refugee coordinator and supervisor of self-sufficiency programs for the Utah Division of Family Services.

In his nearly 22 years in the United States, the priest, who has a doctorate in social work, has involved himself in a variety of religious, educational and community pursuits.

"I've always had an orientation to community service. In Ireland the best way to serve your community is through your church because the church is part of the local culture. I had strong feelings about going into humanitarian service at an early age," the Rev. Moore said.

Since coming to the United States from Ireland, the priest's work has taken him beyond confines of the church.

"I like the area of general social service because it gives me an opportunity to serve people regardless of their race, religion or any other factors. That's why Catholic Community Services means a lot to me."

He said members at St. Thomas More Church, located at 3015 E. Creek Road, are mostly young, professional people who work hard and show a lot of initiative in their families and other activities.

"I'd be happy if I could take some of their motivation and give it to some of the clients at Catholic Community Services," the priest said.

He said the parish's youth members participated in a refurbishing project at the Marillac House, a shelter for homeless women and children operated by Catholic Community Services. Youths and other parish members also work as volunteers at the St. Vincent de Paul Center, another agency program, which provides hot meals, counseling and other social services.

The Rev. Moore expressed concern about escalating numbers of families, mostly headed by single women, and other people seeking assistance through social programs.

"More and more people are relying on the private sector (and the government) for help. The gap between the people who have and who don't have is widening. I think we are seeing a shrinking middle class and a greater need for social services. More and more people are trapped in low-income jobs. It is a big challenge for churches to act as extended families," he said.

The 46-year-old priest was reared in a strong Catholic family, which instilled in him a love for God, and for the sanctity of life and hard work. He expressed concern about youths who say they are bored but who decline to become involved in or to make a contribution to society.

He lauded the LDS Church's missionary program and its efforts to involve youths in service.

"There are lots of kids who don't belong to any church, but for their own personal growth and development they need to be . . . feeling the desire to do something beyond meeting their own needs," the Rev. Moore said.

He was candid in his opinions about the need to open the priesthood to women and to ordain married people.

"I feel strongly that the Catholic Church should open up the priesthood to women. The Catholic Church is concerned about the lack of priests, but there are so many people that we exclude from the ordained ministry, like women and married people. I think the church should have a much more liberal policy for the ordination of married people and women. We exclude so much human talent because of our policies," he said.

The priest strongly maintains that the Catholic Church and other Christian churches should hold the line against abortion.

"We have really encroached on the sacredness of human life in the liberalization of abortion laws. If we don't respect life in the womb it's a short step toward not respecting it when it is old, fragile or dependent in any other way."

Despite the many serious matters he deals with in his work at the church and at Catholic Community Services, the Rev. Moore still finds time to relax by enjoying tennis, skiing, photography and by walking his Irish setter, "Piesec."