Remembering Msgr. Tierney
by Jay Fadden
I have written before about my phone friends. They are close friends who I call throughout the week just to touch base and say hello. In a sense, it is very grounding for me, and over the years, I have built up quite a few. But as I have gotten older, I have lost many of my phone friends as they passed away. Father Frank was the first, followed by my sister Maura, my friend David, and most recently my mother and father. It is hard to describe what it is like not to be able to talk with them anymore. There is a hole and void that is difficult to fill. After my father passed away, I would call his phone every so often just to hear his voice on the answering machine. On Saturday, I lost another phone friend. Msgr. Tierney passed away after a short illness at the age of 92. I had met Msgr. Tierney almost thirty years ago when Father Frank introduced us, and we became lifelong friends. He was kind and caring, and my entire family counted him as one of our own. He baptized my two youngest children, and my son’s middle name is Tierney after the good Monsignor.
Mgsr. Tierney worked at the Tribunal and for many years was a pastor in Bradford, MA. It was an assignment that he loved, and he was fond of the people and the area. He, along with three other priests, had bought a home on Squam Lake many years ago, and it became a second home, complete with a chapel they had renovated from a shed. He became the director of Regina Cleri, a home for retired priests, and oversaw an addition and renovation of the entire facility. He would often tell me how important the facility was and what it meant to the priests. He felt a responsibility to make sure that the priests were taken care of after serving the Archdiocese so faithfully for many years.
Throughout his life, he had a habit of collecting heart stents. He had 18 of them in his body upon his death. The last one was placed a month before he died, but it was not enough to keep such a big heart beating. In the last two weeks of his life, I visited Msgr. Tierney often. Shortly before he died, my family went to visit him at Regina Cleri, where he received wonderful and loving care in his last days. He repeated something to me and Shirley that he had told us when he was in the hospital and at rehab. He said that he hoped his recent illness could accomplish two goals. The first was that his procedures would help others medically in the future. The second was that he hoped that his life would help the priesthood. He told me that he prayed he was a good priest and always did his best. Even in his last moments, he was evangelizing.
We lost a good one on Saturday. A good priest, man, and friend. May he rest in peace.