Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Jim Davis - Florida Catholic
MIAMI | The classic definition of "enthusiasm" -- possessed by God -- may be a perfect fit for Deacon Vincent McInerney's approach to life and ministry.
Deacon McInerney, who died at home in Miami on July 8 at the age of 90, spent decades in the food industry but then retired early to volunteer at St. Louis Church in Pinecrest.
"He was an incredible, generous man with his life, with enthusiasm for God and the gospel," said Father David Russell, retired pastor at St. Louis and a friend of Deacon McInerney for 35 years. "I don't know if 'intense' is the right word, but he was so committed to what he was doing."
Ordained a permanent deacon at St. Louis in May 1986, Deacon McInerney and Evelyn, his wife of 68 years, founded and served as heads of two not-for-profit ministry organizations: Trinity Stewardship and Abba Spiritual Renewal Parish Missions.
Deacon McInerney also maintained a vigorous spiritual life, said Karen Gallagher, one of his four children.
"He was a godly man; nobody loved Jesus more," said Gallagher, who served with him in the family charities. "He said the rosary every day, and over 60 people were always on his prayer list."
Born in New York City on June 19, 1928, Deacon McInerney served in the U.S. Navy starting in 1945. He was awarded the American Area and Victory Medals by the time he left the Navy in 1949.
In the business world, he spent more than 40 years in various food-related jobs, in firm like Campbell's Soup and the Pet Milk Company. Through a series of business transfers, the family moved to Miami, Atlanta, Detroit and Chicago.
In 1971, the family returned to Miami for good. Deacon McInerney founded his own food brokerage company, representing manufacturers in delivering food from warehouses to stores. But in 1987, after his ordination as a deacon, he sold his company in favor of full-time church work.
He and Evelyn assembled a team and visited dozens of parishes around the archdiocese -- churches as far flung as St. John Neumann in Miami, St. Bernard in Sunrise, Mother of Our Redeemer in Hialeah, St. Justin Martyr in Key Largo, St. Martin de Porres in Leisure City and St. Mark in Southwest Ranches.
"We told people that stewardship was more than giving -- it was also food for the poor, or typing in the church office, or singing in the choir or serving as a lector," Karen Gallagher said. "Then more people volunteered. They felt an ownership, that they were helping build up the body of Christ."
Deacon McInerney thus used his twin involvements, family and business, in ministry, said Father Russell, who was also his mentor. "He had a great gift for loving family and letting it overflow into mission. Professionally, he was a salesman, and he used those skills in service to the Lord."
Gallagher agreed. "It made us happy that he made that kind of spiritual environment possible. It showed to us that giving back to the Church not only strengthened churches and their families, but it also strengthened ours."
Nor was Deacon McInerney all business and ministry. Gallagher remembered him allowing his children to make their decisions, yet keeping the door open whenever they needed him.
"Karen, I adore you; I'm there for you," she remembers him saying.
"He was a great daddy and a great grandpa," she said.
Deacon McInerney is preceded in death by his wife, Evelyn Dorothy (Schiff) McInerney, and is survived by four children; Elizabeth (Dave) Woods, Maureen McInerney (Frank) Evans, Karen (Al) Gallagher, and Anthony (Debra) McInerney.
Other surviving relatives include six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Virginia and Georgia.
Friends may visit at 9 a.m. July 14 at St. Louis Church, 7270 SW 120th St., Pinecrest. Following at 10 a.m. will be a Mass of Resurrection, with Father Paul Vuturo, current pastor at the church, as the main celebrant. Father Russell will give the homily.
Interment will follow the funeral immediately at Woodlawn Cemetery, 11655 S.W. 117th Ave., Miami.
In lieu of flowers, well-wishers are asked to make a donation to a favorite charity in Deacon McInerney's name.