Director of Catholic Rights League dies

May 12, 2014

TORONTO – A voice committed to faith and fairness has been silenced. Joanne McGarry, executive director of the Catholic Civil Rights League, succumbed to pancreatic cancer April 28. She was 60.

McGarry's career spanned journalism, business, public relations and advocacy. She was passionate about defending the Church and its teachings.

Her first career was in Catholic journalism, where she served as managing editor of The Catholic Register.

Mike Mastromatteo, hired by McGarry in 1984, recalls that she strove to live the faith.

"You could tell that she handled the position as more than just a job," he said.

McGarry became executive director of the CCRL in 2004 after working more than 10 years in private industry.

CCRL president Phil Horgan described her as "capable, confident, competent and prepared to take on what is sometimes a thankless job."

The tiny organization suddenly found itself with a lively and current website, professionally written press releases and the savvy to be heard on Catholic issues in the media.

McGarry is survived by her husband David Paolini and children Laura, Sarah and Daniel.