Msgr. Patrick M. Tierney, who served as pastor of four parishes before his recent retirement, died June 13. He was 75.
Msgr. Tierney’s last assignment was pastor of Maris Stella Parish, Avalon, 1992-2009, and he continued to live at the parish since retiring on April 20.
He also served as pastor of St. Michael Parish, Gibbstown, 1970-75; St. Aloysius, Oaklyn, 1975-80; and St. Lawrence, Lindenwold, 1980-92.
Msgr. John Clarke, now retired, was a friend of Msgr. Tierney’s for 62 years; the two of them went through high school together in Ireland and ended up entering the same seminary there before both of them became priests for the Camden Diocese.
“He was destined to be a priest,” said Msgr. Clarke. “His life was priesthood, ministry and church. He had tremendous dedication (for his vocation), and was available 24/7.”
Joanne Schwarzwalder served at various points as director of religious education, business administrator and accountant under Msgr. Tierney for 29 years, during the priest’s tenure at St. Lawrence Parish in Lindenwold and Maris Stella in Avalon. She recalled a “a truly humble person” who always was willing to lend an ear, or lighten the mood with humor.
Msgr. Tierney also read avidly, she said, especially biographies and books on history. Most of all, she said, he was “a terrific person.”
“He was always present to the people, easy to approach,” Schwarzwalder remembered. “In losing him, we’ve lost a truly great friend, but gained a saint in heaven.”
Msgr. Tierney graduated from St. Patrick’s, Carlow College in Carlow, Ireland, and was ordained in Carlow Cathedral on June 7, 1957.
Msgr. Tierney’s first assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Ann, Westville, 1957-62, and he also served as parochial vicar of Our Lady Queen of Peace, Pitman, 1962-64; St. Michael, Gibbstown, 1964-65; St. Joseph, Sea Isle City, 1965-69; and Queen of Heaven, Cherry Hill, 1969-70.
In addition to his pastoral responsibilities, Msgr. Tierney was an influential figure in the Diocese of Camden. He served as a member of the Priests’ Senate; Board of Consultors; Diocesan Board of Education; the Catholic Star Herald Advisory Board; Committee on Pastoral Ministry; Continuing Education and Spiritual Formation of Priests; Presbyteral Council; Special Committee on Pastors; and as chair of the Insurance Committee, for the Finance Council.
Bishop Joseph A. Galante celebrated the funeral Mass at Maris Stella Church on June 18. Afterward, mourners gathered in Monsignor Tierney Hall, the parish hall recently named for the late pastor.
Burial will take place in Ireland.