Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Costello incenses the altar at the vigil service celebrated for Bishop James M. Moynihan March 9. (Sun photo | Chuck Wainwright)

By Katherine Long, Editor

Most Rev. James M. Moynihan was remembered as an inspiration, a friend, and an example during a vigil service celebrated for him at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception March 9.

Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, diocesan clergy, religious, family members, friends, and faithful gathered for the evening service, over which retired Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Costello presided. Father Clifford Auth, Father Andrew Baranski, Msgr. James Lang, Msgr. J. Robert Yeazel, and Father Joseph Zareski served as honorary pallbearers.

Sister Mary Anne Heenan, CSJ, who served as diocesan superintendent of schools from 1989 to 2003, proclaimed the first reading, Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13: “I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.”

Bishop Moynihan’s episcopal motto, “Support one another in love,” was drawn from this epistle, expressing his “deep belief and faith that all of us, as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, are bound together and are therefore compelled and required to do all that we can to support one another in love.”

Bishop also drew the title of his 2001 pastoral letter, “Equipping the Saints for the Work of Ministry,” outlining the “institutional and structural challenges” facing the diocese, from this epistle.

Father Zareski, who served as Bishop Moynihan’s secretary and assistant chancellor for five years, offered the homily.

The motto Bishop Moynihan chose was appropriate, Father Zareski said, “because he lived it to the fullest all his life for 84 years. He not only made it a point to love God and neighbor, but he also encouraged and taught others to do so as well.”

Father Zareski spoke of Bishop Moynihan’s love for his family, his friends, and his time with young people at Confirmations.

He closed by saying, “Bishop Moynihan, you have been an inspiration to us all. Thank you for your friendship, your example, and your love. Thank you for all your hard work in serving the people of God. We know you are at rest and are at peace, and we thank God that your suffering has come to an end. We know that we will see you again and once again enjoy your friendship. And finally, we will take the advice of your motto — we will support one another in love.”