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Draper Journal

Builder of churches, champion for refugees and the homeless, passes away

Feb 05, 2024 02:35PM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton

Lt. Pat Evans of the Draper Police Department said Moore (pictured with Sgt. Gerry Allred and Chief Mac Connole, both retired) was always supportive of the police and first responders, including offering an annual mass to pay tribute to their service and helping raise funds for the police department’s program to support victims of domestic violence. (Courtesy Draper Police Department)

“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always with you. May the sunshine warm you always ‘til we meet again.” Those words of the Irish Blessing were sung at the vigil for Monsignor Terence Moore, retired pastor of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, who passed away in December. 

Born in Ireland, Moore was ordained a priest in June 1967 and moved to Utah two months later, where he lived and served for the last 57 years. He had a master’s degree in social work from Catholic University of America and a Ph.D. in social work from the University of Utah. His thesis addressed the needs of Southeast Asian refugees, and he dedicated it with these words: 

“To the Indochinese Refugees who now live in Utah. To these once homeless ones, gallant pilgrims who have explored in full human measure, that each may find a hearth.”

In earlier years, Moore was named director of Refugee Resettlement for Catholic Charities of Utah. From 1982–1985, he served as coordinator of Refugee Resettlement for the Utah State Department of Social Services, and in 1987 he became executive director of Catholic Community Services of Utah, where he worked to develop programs to address homelessness. 

Moore was the founding pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish and led the project to build the church beginning in 1999. He ministered there full time for 14 years, retired in 2013 for health resons but still volunteered there and at other parishes during the last decade of his life. He was given the title of Monsignor in 2008 by Pope Benedict XVI in recognition of his years of service. Before his time in Draper, he was pastor at St. Thomas More Parish in Sandy for 14 years where he also oversaw the construction of a new church.

Beyond ministering to more than 1,600 households in Draper, his service extended into the community. 

Lt. Pat Evans of the Draper Police Department first got to know Moore in 2005 while teaching the D.A.R.E. program at St. John the Baptist Elementary. 

“He always treated our police officers with the utmost respect,” Evans said. “He didn’t care what religious organization they belonged to; he just shared his love with them.” 

Moore and the Knights of Columbus at St. John the Baptist Parish supported the police department’s Victim Services Program by selling tamales at Christmas and donating the profits. Moore invited members of the police department to speak at masses about the importance of that fundraiser. 

“These funds were used to care for victims of violent crime, mainly domestic violence, providing funds for emergency housing and other assistance in desperate times,” Evans said. “The monsignor would also attend domestic violence awareness events at Draper City Hall. He truly cared.”

Under Moore’s watch, the first Blue Masses were held at St. John the Baptist, a tradition that continues today. 

“The parish would invite law enforcement, firefighters and first responders to this special mass to pay tribute to their service and pray for their safety,” Evans said. “The Knights of Columbus would provide a breakfast and raise funds, which were regularly donated to a nonprofit that maintains a memorial at the Utah State Capitol to honor Utah’s fallen peace officers.” 

Evans’ colleague and close friend Sgt. Derek Johnson was tragically killed in the line of duty Sept. 1, 2013. The Draper community held a candlelight vigil at City Hall that evening. 

“Monsignor joined the community during the vigil,” Evans said. “He stood nobly with city officials and led the community in prayer. It was a relief to see him there, and I am forever grateful for his support.” 

Moore’s obituary notes that he was known for his gentle spirit and compassionate, humble heart.

At his passing, he left endowments to assist the homeless and refugees. He wrote the above poem in December 1980.λ