The cover of the funeral Mass program for Tom Moran
By Ray O’Hanlon
On a hot and humid mid-August day they packed into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan to bid farewell to a man who knew a lot about hot and humid days, not just within the five boroughs of New York City, but across the continents.
The life, the service, and the human compassion that lived within Tom Moran’s broad frame were called upon more than once in a life devoted not just to the pursuit of business, but the expansion of the power of business into realms where it could do the most significant human good.
And some, though far from all, of Tom Moran’s answers to those calls were held up from the high altar to those who knew him intimately, knew him well; knew him mostly by reputation.
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The Mass, celebrated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who was assisted by a phalanx of bishops and priests, followed Tom Moran’s passing last weekend.
He was just 65 and this was a most reluctant farewell.
Cardinal Dolan, clearly speaking about someone who was a close friend, told in his homily of a man who was of deep Catholic faith, but not of the kind worn on his sleeve.
Tom Moran held his faith in his heart and showed it by his actions.
Moran, whose working life had been centered on the Mutual of America insurance company based on nearby Park Avenue, had dedicated his abilities and energies to the pursuit of peace in Ireland, and to bringing relief and comfort to the poorest of the world by way of his work with the aid organization, Concern Worldwide.
Tom’s “sparkling Irish eyes,” said the cardinal, had lit up the eyes of all who he had met in life.
The Mass, during which the prayers of the faithful were led by Tom Moran’s colleague and friend of many years, Edward Kenney, was an impressive and appropriate tribute to a man who had started life in Staten Island and who, in his very earliest years, had been unable to speak.
In a deeply personal eulogy, journalist and broadcaster Bill Moyers recounted a visit in recent years to a school in Harlem for children battling many disabilities.
He had witnessed Tom Moran entering a room with children in wheelchairs, some of them unable to speak, to hear, or to see.
Moyers recounted how Tom Moran had got down on his knees and embraced each and every child.
It was a telling moment, one that had been repeated around the world as Moran travelled and advocated for Concern, of which he was U.S. board chairman for a number of years.
Moran’s service to the cause of peace in Ireland, and help for the poorest in numerous countries, drew the attendance of many from the political, legal and diplomatic world, as well as that of business.
The Irish government was represented by Consul General in New York Ciaran Madden and Niall Burgess, a former consul general and now head of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin, who had flown in to attend the funeral. The British government was represented by Consul General Antony Phillipson.
Tom Moran, said Bill Moyers in his eulogy, had left behind a treasure trove of memories and stories.
And many of those stories and memories were shared after the Mass on the steps of St. Patrick’s.
Shared on a hot and humid day when even the pull of workplace air conditioning was not enough to persuade many of those gathered to fully and finally let go of a friend.