Growing up in Michigan near St. Gabriel Parish, George Moore never had any doubts about his Catholic faith.
“My parents really were role models for me. I encountered good people and never had a crisis of faith,” Moore said of his youth.
He had 12 years of Catholic education and said the Dominican nuns who were his teachers had a strong influence on his life. Moore’s first-grade teacher, Sr. Catherine, was a role model and set a pattern for his life. Though he knew all about God, as he grew older, Moore sensed there was something missing.
Parish: St. Theresa, Phoenix
Apostolates: St. Vincent de Paul Society, lector, extraordinary minister, choir.
The glue that holds his faith together: God in His overwhelming silence but oh, His overwhelming presence. Being able to sense the presence of God in my life and not have to have it be structured so that you have to do certain things to make it happen — it can’t just be going to church. It has to be all day long.
What he loves about being a Catholic: Jesus is there, human and divine, and will be there when we die. If you try to move away from recognition of Jesus, it brings up angst. But as a Catholic, to sense that Jesus is going to be there, it’s a comforting feeling that you will have Jesus to connect with. If you got to know Him in a personal way in your life, you will have Him there in death. That was my epiphany.
He moved to Phoenix and set down roots in the newly formed parish of St. Theresa. As a mechanical engineer, he learned to analyze data and think logically. God made sense to him. Still, he yearned for something deeper.
In 1966, he made a Cursillo and it had a profound effect on him. Until then, his way of approaching God consisted of structured, formal prayers. The Cursillo movement, which came to Arizona in 1960, is a three-day retreat that forms Christian leaders and fosters the spiritual growth of participants, called cursillistas.
“What was missing was that personal relationship with the Lord and with people, of being more relaxed,” Moore said. He didn’t know how to pray spontaneously and wasn’t convinced it was even necessary. Cursillo changed that perception.
Nearly 50 years later, Moore still attends and leads weekly Cursillo fellowship meetings. The group is the oldest gathering of cursillistas in the Valley.
“It’s a matter of trying to find a regular way to connect with the number one priority in your life,” Moore said. “Cursillo allowed me to do that much better.”
The way Moore spends his days is evidence of God being his top priority. He attends daily Mass, sings in the choir, lectors and serves the poor through the St. Vincent de Paul Society. For 31 years, he ran a Bible study.
Though Moore is 88, he only retired last year. These days, he’s spending even more time reaching out to the needy, making home visits and delivering food boxes through St. Vincent de Paul.
“It doesn’t solve all their problems, what we do,” Moore said. “But we sow seeds of hope. These people hope for a better life.”
Serving others, Moore said, has brought him joy.
“My most enjoyable time in life is when I am doing something meaningful,” Moore said. “When you turn the focus away from yourself and turn to others, it makes you grateful. Gratefulness is the door to happiness.”
Though he feels close to God, Moore stressed that he stays on guard against temptation.
“Solomon was the wisest man God ever created but it was a disaster at the end of his life. It can happen to anybody, so you have to be on guard for slipping,” Moore said. “As happy as I am with my life and my faith I don’t want it to slip away.”