The Archdiocese of Liverpool was saddened to learn of the death of Mgr George Mooney at the age of 96. He was in his 70th year of priesthood.
George Joseph Mooney was born in Liverpool on 5th August 1927, the son of George and Helen Mooney (née Harrison). Together with his older brother Francis, who would also serve as a priest of the archdiocese, he spent his early years in Aintree, attending Blessed Sacrament Primary School, before going on to St Mary’s College, Crosby. He was accepted as a seminarian and received his priestly formation at St Joseph’s College, Upholland. He was ordained to the priesthood in the college chapel on 12th June 1954, one of sixteen ordained that day by Archbishop Godfrey.
The newly ordained Fr Mooney was not given a curacy like most of his contemporaries. Rather, he was sent to Rome to study canon law at the Gregorian University, whilst residing at the Beda College. After two years study, he returned to the archdiocese replete with his licentiate in canon law.
In September 1956, he was appointed as fourth curate in the busy city parish of St Patrick’s, Park Place, conveniently situated for his other work as a notary in the Metropolitan Tribunal This was a well-considered appointment, given that his first parish priest, Monsignor Laurence Curry, was Officialis at the time. He remained at St Patrick’s until January 1960, when he was appointed as an assistant chaplain with the Apostleship of the Sea, based at Atlantic House on Hardman Street, Liverpool. He returned to parish life in October 1963, upon his appointment as curate in the fledgling parish of St Finbar in the Dingle area of the city.
In January 1966, Archbishop Beck appointed Fr Mooney as Chancellor of the archdiocese and as chaplain to the Canonesses Regular of St Augustine at Park House Nursing Home, Waterloo. With the opening of the Metropolitan Cathedral in 1967, he was appointed to the cathedral staff. At the same time Pope Paul VI appointed him a Privy Chamberlain, with the title of Monsignor. He remained at the Cathedral until September 1975, when he was appointed as Pastoral Director for the archdiocese, as well as being for a short time chaplain at the Blind School.
With the arrival of a new archbishop in March 1976, several changes were made to the governance structures of the archdiocese. Archbishop Worlock established an Archbishop’s Council to assist him in his governance of the archdiocese. Monsignor Mooney was among its first members in his role as Episcopal Vicar for Pastoral Affairs. Simultaneously, he was appointed as parish priest of Our Lady’s, Wavertree. He also relinquished office as Chancellor, an office in which he had served with great distinction for the previous 11 years, assisting both Archbishop Beck and Archbishop Worlock in their governance of the archdiocese.
In June 1983, he was appointed as parish priest of Saints Peter and Paul, Crosby, and continued to serve as Episcopal Vicar. Four years later, in June 1987, he was appointed by Pope John Paul II as a Prelate of Honour. Thereafter, he continued to serve his parishioners at Crosby with great dedication for a further 10 years until his retirement in 1997.
Retiring a little earlier than most priests, he enjoyed more than 25 years of retirement, though he continued to supply regularly in parishes as the need arose. In retirement he made his home near to St Gregory’s Church, Lydiate, until he became too frail to live independently. He then moved into the presbytery at Our Lady’s, Lydiate, before spending his final months in a nursing home.
Monsignor Mooney died peacefully in the early hours of Saturday 27th January 2024, aged 96 years and in the 70th year of the priesthood, just a few months short of his Platinum Jubilee.
His funeral arrangements are as follows:
Thursday 15 February at Our Lady's Church, Lydiate, L31 4HH at 7pm - Archbishop Malcolm McMahon will preside a Vigil Mass with Reception of the Body.
Friday 16 February at St Gregory's Church, Lydiate, L31 2NA at 11am - Bishop John Rawsthorne will preside at the Requiem Funeral Mass.
May he rest in peace and rise in glory.