Msgr. Moudry’s ministry focused on pascal mystery

| June 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

Moya McGinn Matthews met Msgr. Richard Moudry in the 1980s when he was pastor at Christ the King in Minneapolis. She will always remember that encounter with the priest, who died June 17 at age 92.

She was looking for a Mass to attend on a holy day, and she “had heard good things about Father Moudry,” she recalled in an email she sent to The Catholic Spirit. What she remembers most is his greeting after Mass. He approached her, introduced himself and asked her name. His hospitality struck her.

Msgr. Richard Moudry

A few years later, in 1989, he hired her as the director of liturgy and music at the parish. She respected and appreciated his leadership and pastoral approach in priestly ministry.

“He was an excellent leader and wonderful pastor in every sense of the word,” said Matthews, who continues in her role at the parish. “He was compassionate, responsive and sensitive with pastoral situations and concerns. He treated parishioners with respect and treated his lay staff like respected colleagues. That’s not just good pastoral practice, it’s also great business practice. Working for and with him was a joy and privilege.”

Msgr. Moudry attended Nazareth Hall and the St. Paul Seminary, both in St. Paul, and was ordained June 3, 1950. He was named a monsignor in 1973. His only parish assignment was as pastor of Christ the King from 1970-1992. Other roles were at Nazareth Hall, where he served as a faculty member (1950-1957) and rector (1965-1970). He also served as vice chancellor (1957-1963) and chancellor (1963-65) of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He retired from active ministry in 1993. His master’s thesis on the first Chapel of St. Paul is frequently quoted by historians writing on that part of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ history.

“For me personally, he was a mentor and teacher and pastor,” Matthews said. “He supported my professional and spiritual development, he was generous with meaningful affirmation, noting the details of my work that he appreciated, and supportive of my growth both as a professional lay minister and as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Staff meetings were stimulating and interesting under his leadership. We often had reading assignments before a meeting, and came prepared to discuss the practical pastoral application of the theological ideas in an article or chapter of a book that we had all read.”

She noted that “the central message of his preaching was clear: We are all baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ, and our vocation is to live the paschal mystery.”

“I remember many formative sound bites from his homilies: The mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection is the lens through which we view and understand all of life — all of Christian life is life in the paschal mystery. The Christian liturgy is our practice of dying and rising with Christ. Through celebration of the liturgy, we learn to surrender our lives totally to God in Christ.”

She recalled that he had his baptismal certificate on the wall of his office, along with his coffin, built by monks at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, which he used as a bookshelf.

“It was a reminder of his own mortality, but was not at all a morbid thing,” she wrote. “He believed that, because of our faith in the paschal mystery, for the Christian, the final surrender of death would be a familiar and joyous sacrifice. I’m sure it was for him.”

His funeral Mass will be 11 a.m. June 21 at Christ the King, following 10 a.m. visitation. Interment is in Calvary Cemetery in St. Paul.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story included incorrect information about the roles Msgr. Moudry held at Nazareth Hall and in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ chancery. The Catholic Spirit apologizes for the error.

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