In Memoriam: Paulist Fr. Al Moser (1923-2016)

September 22, 2016

Al_Moser_as_young_man_in_Paulist_habitPaulist Fr. Albert Moser died peacefully in the early morning of Sunday, September 11, 2016, at the Mercy Retirement and Care Center in Oakland, CA. He was 92.

Beginning in 1982, Fr. Moser served for more than 30 years at Newman Hall – Holy Spirit Parish, the Catholic campus ministry at the University of California at Berkeley. His joyful ministry there will be a cherished memory for many people.

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Prior to moving to Berkeley, Fr. Moser served from 1978 to 1982 as pastor of St. Cyril Church in Tucson, AZ, as well as superior of the Paulist Fathers in that city. From 1972 to 1978, he was director of the Catholic campus ministry at the University of Texas at Austin in Austin, TX. In 1971 and 1972, he was associate director of the Catholic Information Center in Grand Rapids, MI.

From 1961 to 1971, Fr. Moser was on the staff at St. Paul’s College, the Paulist Fathers seminary in Washington, D.C., first as a professor of English and then as director of formation.

Paulist Fr. Frank DeSiano, our current director of formation, noted that Fr. Moser’s tenure in the role occurred in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, and that he helped to implement a reform at the seminary.

“Before his time, all of the faculty (Paulist priests in residence) voted by paper ballot on each student. Al invented the formation team which had the primary responsibility to know and support the students. They were then the ones who then made recommendations for advancement,” said Fr. DiSiano.

Paulist Fr. Bruce Nieli was one of the seminarians at St. Paul’s College during Fr. Moser’s time as director of formation in the exciting late 1960s and early 1970s. He recalled that Fr. Moser led the seminarians to the Lincoln Memorial to hear Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in August, 1963.

Al_Moser_bw_mid_years“I was always inspired by Al’s profoundly prayerful, contemplative spirit, which he always connected to his enthusiastic, creative support to Vatican II theology, pastoral counseling, and mission outreach,” said Fr. Nieli. “On a personal level, I deeply appreciated his encouraging support to me during those sometimes uncertain years of discernment.”

Fr. Moser was born October 7, 1923, to Louis and Mary Reedy Moser, and was raised in the Cincinnati, OH, area. He served as a U.S. Army medic from February, 1943, to January, 1946. Part of his Army service was in Europe. Fr. Moser shared with multiple Paulist Fathers that, while he was serving in Europe, he was present at concentration camps after their liberation.

After the war, Fr. Moser earned a bachelor of science from Xavier University in Ohio and a masters of fine arts from Fordham University in New York City.

Fr. Moser made his first promises with the Paulist Fathers on September 8, 1954, and his final promises on September 8, 1957. He was ordained a priest on May 11, 1960, at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City. He was a member of our community for 62 years and a Paulist Father for 56 years.

Fr. Moser’s wake service was held Friday evening, September 16, at Newman Hall – Holy Spirit Parish in Berkeley, CA. His funeral Mass also was celebrated there Saturday morning, September 17, with Paulist Fr. Eric Andrews, president of our community, presiding.

Fr. Moser was buried on Monday, September 19, at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, CA.