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Last living member of first diaconate class dies

By ROB HERBST

The Catholic Week

Deacon Alexander F. Moore, a member of the first permanent deacon class of the then-Diocese of Mobile Birmingham and believed to be the last surviving member of the class in the Archdiocese of Mobile, died Sept. 6 at the age of 81.

Deacon Moore was ordained April 21, 1979, and retired from active ministry on Jan. 25, 2016. Deacon Moore was also among the first African-American permanent deacons in the archdiocese.

While he was assigned to St. Francis Xavier Parish in Mobile throughout his entire ministry, Archdiocese of Mobile Chancellor and Director of the Permanent Diaconate Deacon Ronnie Hathorne said Deacon Moore served the entire African-American community in the Mobile area.

“He endeavored to assist all the black parishes within the Mobile area, when called upon,” Deacon Hathorne said. “Deacon Moore was a wonderful example and role model for other men who considered the diaconate.  He was certainly a great role model and inspiration for (current African-American deacons) Deacon James Bryant, Deacon Stanley Maxwell, Deacon Ernest Johnson, (myself) and others.”

Deacon Hathorne added: “He conducted Missions, retreats, Bible study, preached at revivals and assisted at many other parish and local activities.  Deacon Moore always seemed to give of himself, even when he seemed tired and weary. This is just who he was as a great man of God.”

Deacon Moore never married and served in the Army. He spent much of his professional life as a teacher’s aide and teacher with the Mobile Area Head Start program beginning in 1965.

Along with his professional work and ministry, Deacon Moore was a recognized artist. He designed calendars for the Society of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart (Josephites) and created Christmas cards.

But according to a 1992 article published in “The Catholic Week,” Deacon Moore preferred to do portraits.

“My interest is in faces rather than scenery – all of the feelings in the eyes tell a story,” he said.

Deacon Hathorne added: “He (created) paintings of the Blessed Mother, Jesus Christ and many other religious figures. … But, Deacon Moore never bragged nor tried to profit off his great gift of painting.

“So, the memories of Deacon Moore will remain with many priests, deacons, laity and others who personally witnessed his love and compassion for others, throughout the Archdiocese of Mobile.”

Funeral Mass was scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 13 at Prince of Peace Parish in Mobile, with interment following at Alabama Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Spanish Fort.

 

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