By ROB HERBST
The Catholic Week
MOBILE — Throughout his 62 years of priesthood, Msgr. Maurice Shields always thought of others.
Msgr. Shields, who died Feb. 21 at the age of 90, spent his final years at Allen Memorial Home. But the opportunity arose for him to join fellow religious at the Little Sisters of the Poor Sacred Heart Residence.
He declined the offer.
“He turned it down because then (the people of Allen Memorial Home) would be without a priest,” Fr. Mark Neske said in his homily at the Memorial Mass for Msgr. Shields on Feb. 27 at the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
That was Msgr. Shields.
“He was such a humble priest,” Fr. Neske said. “He was a good priest and he was a Holy priest.”
Msgr. Shields served throughout the Archdiocese of Mobile and in various roles. He served as a teacher and counselor, director of vocations for 12 years, corresponding secretary of the Priest Senate and as a team member of the Engaged Encounter program for 30 years.
Msgr. Shields was born in Baltimore on May 18, 1929, to Maurice Francis and Catherine Elizabeth Shields. After attending Loyola University in Baltimore, he attended Maryknoll College in Massachusetts and then St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia from 1952-57.
He was ordained May 25, 1957, in Baltimore and then began serving as a teacher and counselor at Pensacola Catholic High School and associate pastor at St. John Parish in Warrington, Fla.
Msgr. Shields became pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Lillian in 1962, while also serving as chaplain of Our Lady of Peace in Paradise Beach, Fla.
Msgr. Shields also served as teacher and counselor at McGill Institute in 1968, where he ministered until 1977. During this time, he also served as pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Prichard and then as assistant pastor at St. Pius X Parish in Mobile.
In 1977, Msgr. Shields became pastor of Our Lady Queen of Mercy Parish in Montgomery before being assigned as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Prattville in 1984. He became pastor of Little Flower Parish in Mobile in 1992 and pastor emeritus in 1993. He also served as chaplain of Mercy Medical beginning in 2003.
In describing his priesthood, Msgr. Shields was quoted in a 1982 article published in “The Catholic Week” as saying: “God called me by name to serve as one of his priests in the Mobile Archdiocese. Although I have touched the lives of so many people during this time, I feel that it is I who have been enriched and blessed so much by them.”