Remembering John Mooney

Early on April 27, 2018, John Mooney passed to his glory. He, along with Louis Grams and Bud Rose, were the founders of Christians in Commerce. Louis Grams shares his memories of John and the origins of Christians in Commerce.

By Louis Grams

In the late seventies, I met John at a business conference at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio where we were both speakers. We ended up being roommates at the conference and hit it off instantly. Not long after that we were teamed once again for the same conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

By that time, Bud and I had laid out the core vision for what became Christians in Commerce and John wanted to know all about it. Once he did, he was on board, one hundred percent.

The three of us worked intensely over the next year and half to develop the plan and core content for Christians in Commerce. John owned and operated a successful chain of shoe stores in Arizona and California, and we often held our multi-day planning sessions in a simple but wonderful apartment above his store on State Street in Santa Barbara, California.

We were a team that loved being together. We loved each other. We all had a love for the Lord and a passion to see his love and power transform the marketplace. Our prayer times together were enthusiastic, loud and full of the power of the Holy Spirit. Our meetings were intense and exciting, but we were never so intense that we could not break to have fun.

In 1983, we launched CIC as a team, first in Minnesota, next in Arizona, and then in Indiana—our three home bases. We moved on from there to locations scattered across the country, working off of friendships and other connections we had. From time to time, we would step back as a team to evaluate what was happening and then plunge back into our travels and building efforts.

John was a man of action. He was about meeting people, engaging them and inviting them into what we were doing. His warmth and welcoming personality made others feel like old friends. His stories about encounters with people on airplanes and in a wide variety of other random locations are legendary.

The two of us traveled to Rome together as delegates to a Vatican conference of people in the world of business and commerce that was called to help Pope John Paul II prepare his encyclical on the laity which was released in December 1988.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) spoke to the conference a couple of times. One day, during a break, he came up to John and I in the hallway and said, “Ah, you are the Americans from the Christians in Commerce I believe.”

We were stunned he knew who we were, but he went on to tell us how important the work we were doing was and encouraged us to keep moving ahead.

As we aged and our ability to travel became more limited, we saw each other much less often, but the affection and care remained.

John’s passion for CIC did not fade. In these last years, he traveled less, but he worked to touch as many people and as many groups as he possibly could despite severe pain and weariness that constantly accompanied him in his battle with cancer.

A few weeks ago, John called to say, “Goodbye.” We couldn’t talk for long. His weakness was robbing him of the words that always came so easily, but we were able to affirm once more the love we had for each other, and to bid each other farewell.

I am thankful that I had the chance to know and work with John. I am thankful that we were able to seek and serve the Lord together.

Read: Please leave your own brief honoring of John in the comment section. We will share these comments later with John’s family.

8 thoughts on “Remembering John Mooney

  1. I met John about 15 years ago at a special event at City of the Lord, a couple years after joining Christians in Commerce. After introducing himself, his next words changed our family forever. “I want to meet your husband.”
    That began 15 years of John sharing one on one God’s instructions for both Ric and me.
    At the 2017 CIC Conference, John and I were passing by each other in a hallway, each of us in conversation with our walking companion, John stopped in front of me and said, “God wants to know when you are going to trust Him with the outcome of your children’s lives?” Once again God used John to help me re-evaluate my thoughts and actions.
    I had a chance to visit John in the hospital,with other sisters, through the pain his infectious smile never left his face. We’ll miss you John but rejoice that you are home.

  2. John taught us some much about the Holy Spirit and the Love of the Father in our leadership classes. 7 years ago I was in Mayo Clinic with some stomach issues and John came to visit me. Two months earlier I just launched a 501C3 to do well in Africa. John came in and spoke about the water and the wells we were doing in Africa. What a blessing John was. Flowing Water has blessed thousands of people with water since John came to my hospital room 7 years ago.

  3. I invited John to come and speak to us in the Northern Virginia Chapter of Christians in Commerce when I became president in 2003 to enable our newer members to more easily connect with our legacy. He generously came and was a great inspiration, entertaining us with his stories that showed how to spread God’s word, and bringing us closer to the Lord.

  4. Several men whom I came to know much more deeply were privileged to experience the CIC Challenge Weekend at St. Francis Retreat Center in San Juan Batista in 1987. Imagine being on the weekend with John and then ending up in his small sharing group with him leading. I know that the Holy Spirit was sending me in a very new direction. After the weekend, John invited a small group of men who had recently made a Challenge Weekend for a post-weekend follow up breakfast. Little did we know that it was not a social occasion. John looked Bud Flocchini, Jack McCall, Bob Schumacher and me in the eye and said “you will start a new CIC Chapter in San Jose.” The rest is history!
    Thank you John, glory be to God.

  5. I met John Mooney at my first CIC National Conference in Arizona in the late 1980’s. I was blessed then and over and over again during my 30 + years in CIC by John’s stories of introducing people to Jesus and of the power of the name of Jesus. I called John from Duluth one tuesday morning in April 2018 after our local CIC meeting after learning that he was getting close to meeting Jesus face to face from my twin brother, Will. We talked and he joked with me about being from the cold northern Minnesota town that sells warm underwear. Through tears, I thanked John for CIC and for all his years of proclaiming and emphasizing the powerful name of Jesus. I am truly blessed and changed by meeting and knowing John Mooney and by this last conversation with him before he went home to be with Jesus.

  6. My first contact with John Mooney was at a CIC meeting in Minneapolis, in 1985. It was clear that God had blessed him with a charismatic presence that made him extremely effective in touching others and in building Christians In Commerce. I feel fortunate for having known him.

    Jack Sell

  7. Several weeks ago, I had learned that John was in hospice. I was immediately inspired to write down anything I could think of regarding John Mooney. I soon came up with a rather long list of spiritual items which drew me to one conclusion— that John had more to do with my own formation than any other person( human) that I’d ever known. I was drawn to thankfulness and gratitude for having know him. Let me explain…
    John was very present on my very first Cic Challenge Weekend in March of 1986. I thought it was very odd that he could tell me all kinds of things about my family, yet I didn’t even really know him. He could have only stated what he said with the help of the Holy Spirit. In that first encounter with John, he asked me to pray with him to forgive my father, who had died about 5 months prior to this Weekend. I had no idea that I was as angry with my Dad as I was, but John sure knew! Since our meeting was rather late at night, I was soon off to my room, to get to sleep. In the middle of that night, I wake up, sit up in my bed, and see Jesus and the devil fighting in my room! This happens twice during this night. I awoke to a feeling of relaxation and peace, unlike any that I’d experienced in my whole life. Since then, I’ve mentioned that I thought Jesus won that fight. Jesus was fighting for my soul that night! John Mooney was very much a catalyst in what happened after our prayers together on that very profound Challenge Weekend.
    A few years later, John encouraged me to visit Byron Clarke, in Tempe, Arizona, to speak with and work with Byron on a “healing of memories”. Over 2 days, the presence and power of Jesus was very present, enabling me to forgive my parents in some rather dramatic ways. I’d say I learned a whole lot about forgiveness in those 2 days. Again, John was a fabulous catalyst in helping me to get set free. And even though these events occurred almost 30 years ago, the topic of forgiveness is still very much alive with me. In the last 12 months, I’ve written a book about forgiveness, and have created a workbook to assist others who may still struggle with forgiveness issues. John was a big encourager in helping others to “get set free”.
    Anyone around John much came to appreciate his self-effacing humor. I recall some “one-liners” from John, which are also eminently practical. My favorite is… “When I learned that God wanted to use me, I lost a lot of confidence in God!” Another memorable one for me was…”That Christianity is one thing, but this is business!”( As if business/commerce/profits etc. are more important than God) Another very practical one is…” We can be so spiritually wound up, that we can become no earthly good!” ( We can run around doing spiritual works, however, not all that useful if we are spread too thin, and involved in too many things.)
    Lastly, John had a huge impact on encouraging me to form a daily prayer life. I vividly remember him suggesting one of the Praise Psalms to ready daily( 145 to 150), and scripture verses from Mt. 5,6,or 7, which he described as the “prescription for Christian living”. Then he suggested a great book on Prayer by Fr. Michael Scanlon called an “Appointment with God”. That book really helped with forming a daily devoted time with Our Lord, and journaling to keep track of what was going on. I now have 30 years of “journals” which captures what was going on in those daily Appointments. Again, John Mooney was a tremendous catalyst in helping me( and many of us) become better formed in Christ. Don’t you love his questions about our soul and Jesus— “How is your soul”?, and “Are you Convinced about Jesus?”.
    I’m tremendously grateful that a spiritual man like John took me under his wing. In virtually every conversation I ever had with him, he had a “scripture for me”. Every one of them is memorable and have been put to great use over all these years!
    I was blessed to have attended his funeral Mass just a few days ago. I was never moved to tears as much as I was during a church service. I will miss him greatly as a true friend and brother in the Lord. We all know he is with Our Father in heaven, and probably telling funny stories to anyone with a listening ear… Glory to God for John Mooney!

  8. I think the first words John spoke to me were actually the question “How’s your soul”? He truly was concerned for my soul and for every person’s that he met. John wanted each of us to know about God’s amazing love and for us to participate in that extraordinary love! John was a friend and spiritual mentor to me. I will always treasure our time together and our Jesus centered conversations.
    I thank God that you asked that day, How’s your soul?”. You will be missed.

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