Sunday, February 19, 2006

Reverend Eugene Maguire (1919 -2006) R.I.P.

Allow me a personal note. On Friday a man of God died. His name was Father Eugene Maguire. He was a Roman Catholic priest and a man who served the church and the people of Arizona, and in particular the people of Scottsdale, Arizona with a grace, humility and fervor that I hope is emulated by all who answer the call to the priesthood. He came to Arizona from his beloved Ireland to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His life reflected the love and especially the mercy of God as he was a constant fixture at the Scottsdale Hospital downtown.

I have known him for over 42 years. As an altar boy, I served mass for him. He was a Knight of Columbus and a dear friend of my parents. Later, after law school, when I returned to the valley, I would serve as a lecture and play the piano for the Sunday 5:30 pm mass. He always seemed to say that mass. He was a constant presence in an ever-changing world.

He was a good priest and always available for the people in his parish. With a school attached to the church, he was always dropping into our classes. The guys looked forward to the visits, always hoping that he would pull us out of class so we could serve a mass for a visiting priest or assist at a funeral.

He was a vital part of the history of Scottsdale and frankly the next time antytone wants to commission a statue for the civic plaza, it should be of Fr. Maguire.

One man who touched a lot of hearts.

During the years he was pastor, the Pro-Life movement always had a friend at our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Scottsdale. He supported the cause with his prayers and sermons, but mostly encouraged us, the laity, to get involved. Whether it was having Dr. Carolyn Gerster M.D. speak at all the masses, or supporting a concert by Dana in the church, Fr. Maguire reminded his flock that being pro-life was very important. He was always there to help a young pregnant mother in need (not to mention anyone who knocked on his door - He was known as a soft touch). He was not afraid to call you and ask you to help some of these people who were in trouble. And you always knew that it was the right thing to do.

Finally Father was a man of prayer. His relentless energy came from his love of God and his vocation. I remember as a young boy seeing him walking around reading the daily office - the official prayers of the church. And while his Irish brogue remained with him until the end, there was a precious way in which he would celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass that was uniquely "Fr. Maguire."

So on behalf of all pro-lifers, including myself, that you have touched these last 40 years, thank you for saying yes to God's call to the priesthood, and for living fully the Gospel for Life.

The funeral mass is set for 10:00 am on Wednesday February 22, 2006.
A rosary will be said on Tuesday night at the church starting at 7:00 pm. Visitation starts at 5:00 pm Tuesday at the church.


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