Fr. Bill Moore '67
Original interview by Michael Bartlet '11
Fr. Bill was born in Glendale, California and attended Damien High School from 1964-1967. He credits his interest in pursuing a vocational calling to the priesthood to the many great priests who served as teachers on the Damien campus during the 60s. He particularly credits one priest for contributing to his development as an abstract expressionist artist. This priest was Father Travers, who taught Moore geometry during his sophomore year.
“I would always be doodling in my notebook,” Moore recalled, “experimenting with different geometric shapes and forms. I wish I had saved that notebook.”
Father Travers was Father Bill’s favorite teacher when he attended Damien. Back then Father Bill was a shy kid (which may be surprising to those who know him or have talked to him). He always saw art as an outlet for him to express himself. He took many art classes while attending Damien and art became a very serious hobby for him as he left Damien to begin studying to become a priest.
He began studying to become a priest immediately out of high school doing two years of study in Massachusetts. After those two years of study Father Bill entered crossroads in his life. Even though he was studying to enter the priesthood at the time he was also maintaining his serious dedication to the arts. Unfortunately for Moore his provincial advised him to major in either Philosophy or Theology. But as his passion for art festered he felt the strong urge to major in Art, and he did.
The Congregation of the Sacred Hearts’ wasn’t initially thrilled about Father Bill’s decision, but after a year they not only accepted his choice but encouraged his pursuit of the arts. They recognized his talent and have supported him as an artist ever since.
“That’s Bill’s gift, his talent, and we have to support that,” says Father Dolan McCarthy who serves as provincial for the Sacred Hearts’ Fathers. “When you’ve got a creative person, you shouldn’t stifle that creativity.”
Through out Moore’s career as an artist, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts’ has not only been encouraging but also actively involved in his artistic pursuits. Moreover, all the money from the sale of his art goes directly to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
After Father Bill received his B.A. in Fine Arts from Saint Mary’s University, Winona, Minnesota, he went on to the Washington Theological Coalition where he earned a Masters Degree in Theology, and in 1975 he was ordained. After his ordination he began teaching at Damien.
“The first year was tough. I was out my comfort zone and I didn’t want to continue teaching.” However, after giving it some thought he decided to stay. It’s safe to say he made the right decision as he went on to influence the lives of many students, one of those students also being a part of the 2011 Hall of Fame class, Mr. Ron Castillo.
“Father Bill helped me get my life on track. He was a major influence for me in art and in life.”
The mutual respect shared by these two men is absolutely incredible and it is only fitting that they’ve both been elected to the Hall of Fame in the same year. The influence that Father Bill had on Mr. Castillo is apparent in Mr. Castillo’s interests, outlook, artwork, and mannerisms. It’s truly a beautiful thing that their relationship culminates into the honor of being elected to the Damien Hall of Fame.