HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. – Msgr. Timothy P. Stein, an editor in the Catholic press for 29 years and dedicated priest who served in parish ministry for more than three decades, died early April 20 after a recent illness.
Msgr. Stein, 60, was found dead in the rectory at St. Mary Immaculate Conception Parish in Altoona, Pennsylvania, where he had been pastor since 2004.
Ordained in 1984 for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Msgr. Stein seamlessly melded parish ministry with his work as a Catholic journalist. He joined the staff of The Catholic Register, the diocesan newspaper, as associate editor in 1986 and was named editor three years later.
He was well-known for his column, “Another Perspective,” where he reflected about church matters and living the Catholic faith.
Catholic journalists knew Msgr. Stein not only for his candid comments about the profession but also as someone who could set fellow editors at ease when they called for advice or to express struggles about their work.
“Tim was absolutely, without a doubt, a commonsense, no nonsense sage communicator who loved the written word through the Catholic press and loved the people who produced those words,” recalled Penny Wiegert, editor of The Observer, newspaper of the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois, who knew Msgr. Stein for more than three decades.
“Tim and I not only shared good humor, and we were able to commiserate about our work in ways you couldn’t talk to your own family about sometimes. But we also had the same passion, love and humor that we brought to those conversations, the shop talk, to shared faith and spirituality,” said Wiegert, past president of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada.
Msgr. Stein was a CPA member and served on the organization’s board of directors from 1998 to 2001, including a year as treasurer.
But it was parish life that was Msgr. Stein’s passion, Wiegert said. He was especially proud of the Lenten fish fries at St. Mary Immaculate Conception, which drew the entire parish community together and earned him the nickname Fryer Tim.
Born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, to the late Charles and Josephine Stein, Msgr. Stein graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He later received a master’s degree in divinity from the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.
His ministry after ordination included assignments as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Parish in Altoona, St. John the Evangelist Parish in Lakemont; and St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Hollidaysburg. He then served as pastor of St. Monica Parish in Chest Springs from 1996 to 2004 before being assigned to St. Mary Immaculate Conception Parish.
Msgr. Stein is survived by a sister, two nieces and an aunt.
Bishop Mark L. Bartchak of Altoona-Johnstown was scheduled to celebrate Msgr. Stein’s funeral Mass April 24 at St. Mary Immaculate Conception. He will be buried at St. Bartholomew Cemetery in Wilmore.