Loss of Father Joe?will be felt forever

In the tragic passing of Father Joe Moreno, Western New York has truly lost one of its nicest people. The hundreds of people who attended his wake and funeral are a testament to what a kind and loving man he was. He did so much for so many people.

For us at St. Lawrence, he was a Godsend. After surviving our last pastor asking for and being relieved of his duties there and church consolidations, we stayed open under the devoted leadership of Deacon Paul and Mary, his wife. They asked for Father Joe to help and he became ours.

Father Joe never “preached.” His sermons were always stories about helping and loving. He made you feel comfortable because he led by example. You couldn’t help but get involved in one of his projects.

At St. Lawrence, the loss of Father Joe will be felt forever. He meant so much and did so much for us. We are a small church, but operate many ministries (clinic for kids, St. Vincent de Paul, food pantry). Father Joe, with many dedicated volunteers, made it possible for so many people to get help. In tribute, we have named our food pantry after him. I ask that all of his friends remember us and pray for us. Because of Father Joe and you, our pantry serves 450 people a month. With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming, this is the time when Father Joe was at his best.

I don’t think it matters why, but questions remain. Why would “downtown” take Father Joe away from us (and St. Mary’s), away from all that he loved and who loved him? At St. Lawrence he was minutes from anywhere. To have everything taken away from him, and told to go wait for assignment, was just plain wrong. The bishop and his “spin doctor” can say what they want. Having to leave us hurt Father Joe very much. He needed us, maybe as much as we needed him.

Jim Barrett