Msgr. Thomas J. McIntyre, at one time among the most prominent and influential clergymen in the Diocese of Camden, died Dec. 6 at the age of 77. During his years of active ministry, he was an administrator, educator, journalist and pastor.
He retired for medical reasons in 2010 after slipping on ice and suffering a head injury.
His last assignment was at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish, Cape May, where he was administrator, 2003-04, and pastor 2004-10. He was pastor of Saint Jude Parish, Blackwood, 1992-2000, and pastor of Saint Peter Celestine, Cherry Hill, 2000-04, and previously served many years in the field of Catholic education and diocesan administration.
In 1970, a few years after ordination, he was vocation coordinator at Saint Joseph High School, Hammonton. He went on to become administrative assistant at Sacred Heart High School, Vineland, in 1975, and principal of Gloucester Catholic High School in 1976.
In 1982 Msgr. McIntyre was named associate superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Camden, and later the same year he was named superintendent. In 1991 he became vicar for pastoral services for the diocese, and in 1999 he was made episcopal vicar for Catholic schools.
Msgr. McIntyre was executive editor of the Catholic Star Herald in the 1980s and continued to write a column, Teachable Moments, until his retirement. In a piece entitled “The Meaning of One Mass” he wrote, “To be a follower of Christ we must be ready to accept all there is, the joys of living and life’s sorrows. … Loss of good health we once took for granted, or the spouse whose presence we sorely miss, need not crush us.”
Msgr. Harry J. Jordan, a retired priest of the diocese who knew Msgr. McIntyre for 52 years, remembers him as “a tremendous priest, a wonderful friend” and an avid sports fan. “He loved the Eagles, he loved the Phillies, he loved Notre Dame football.”
Msgr. McIntyre sometimes wrote columns about sports, including his disillusionment with the 1981 baseball strike. He also wrote about his admiration of Ronald Reagan, what he saw as disappointing trends in American culture, and his love of “Star Trek” and the movie “E.T.” One of his most common themes was the importance of a positive attitude. In a 1988 column about the importance of a sense of humor, he recalled a woman complaining to him after Mass because a baby was crying during the service. “A crying child isn’t that bad,” he wrote, noting that “there just aren’t enough hours in the day to tolerate both a contented spirit and a fretful attitude.”
Msgr. McIntyre attended Mount Saint Mary’s College, Emmitsburg, Md.; Gregorian University, Rome; and Villanova University, Pa. He was ordained in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome, on Dec. 17, 1966.
Bishop Dennis Sullivan celebrated a funeral Mass on Dec. 13 at the Church of the Incarnation, Mantua. Burial was at New Saint Mary’s Cemetery, Bellmawr.