New York University professor emeritus of philosophy of education Dr. Gabriel Moran dies at 86
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Internationally renowned scholar and much admired teacher Dr. Gabriel Moran, AFSC, passed away on October 15, 2021 in New York City. His writings made important contributions to Roman Catholic theology and ecumenical religious education. At the time of his death, Moran was Professor Emeritus of Philosophy of Education at New York University, where he had taught for 29 years.
Moran was predeceased by his beloved wife, Maria Harris, his sisters Louise Lyons and Dorothy Perkins, his brother John, and his parents, Mary Murphy and John Moran. He is survived by his sister Mary, member of the Sisters of Mercy, several nieces and nephews, and many friends.
Born Richard Moran on August 11, 1935, in Manchester, New Hampshire, he joined De La Salle Christian Brothers in 1954, accepting the name Gabriel. He received his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
In 1965, Moran became director of the Manhattan College Graduate Program of Theology and Religious Education. His in-depth knowledge of Roman Catholic tradition and ancient and modern philosophy, coupled with his clarity of expression, has drawn students from across the United States and abroad. In 1970 he was elected Provincial Superior of the Long Island and New England District of the Christian Brothers.
In 1978, Moran joined the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at New York University where he taught religion, philosophy, and the history of education. In 1985, Moran retired from the Christian Brothers and married his colleague, Maria Harris, in 1986. They remained married until his death in 2005. He was welcomed back into the Christian Brothers with the honor of Affiliate Member in 2020.
His tenure at New York University strengthened Moran’s ecumenical position, attracting students from many religious traditions, as well as those who were not formally members of any religious tradition. As chair of the Department of Religious Studies, Moran has mentored doctoral students writing from Buddhist, Evangelical Protestant, and Roman Catholic perspectives. With several members of an educational team, Alternative Religious Education, he initiated and published The Alternative newsletter for 45 years. Moran was among the first members of the International Seminars on Education and Religious Values (ISREV). Its international presence has flourished with conferences in Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia.
Moran and his colleague and wife Maria Harris received the William Rainey Harper Award at the Religious Education Association Centennial Celebration. Fordham University’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education awarded Moran and Harris the Sapientia and Doctrina (Wisdom and Learning) distinction, noting that together they had changed the field of religious education, to both Catholic and ecumenical, all over the world. In 2004, Moran received the National Conference Award for Catechetical Leadership.
Through more than 400 essays and 31 books, Moran has created a distinguished and far-reaching body of work. Although critical at times, his most recent book, What Happened to the Roman Catholic Church? And now? An Institutional and Personal Memoir offers hopeful guidance for a Church response to key issues such as sexual diversity, non-violent strength, racial equality, the priesthood, and women’s rights. Its theme echoes its underlying thesis that Catholic revelation is present both in the teachings of Christian mystics and in the community participation of women and men in Catholic liturgies today.
A full list of Moran’s published works and a more complete biography appear on the website.
Moran will be awakened at Gannon Funeral Home, 152 East 28 Street, New York City, on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.
On Thursday October 21 and Friday October 22, a tour will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Christian Brothers Center, 635 Ocean Rd., Narragansett, Rhode Island.
Arrangements by Avery-Storti Funeral Home and Crematorium, 88 Columbia Street, Wakefield, RI.
A Christian burial liturgy will be celebrated at Notre-Dame de l’Étoile Chapel, Christian Brothers Center, at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 23, 2021.
Interment will be in the cemetery of the brothers.
Donations in memory of Moran may be made payable to the Christian Brothers and sent to the Development Office, Christian Brothers, PO Box 238, Lincroft, New Jersey 07738-0238.