Dear People of Good Shepherd,
When I began my tenure as your pastor in January 1982, in the first homily I preached, or if not in the very first homily, soon after the first, I referred to one of my favorite stories, the classic TheLittle Prince, by Antoine de Saint- Exupery as a way to introduce myself to you and set a tone to characterize our relationship together. Now after thirty one years, as I write this farewell letter to you, I once again refer to the Little Prince. In chapter XXI of that story, the Prince, while looking for people and friends, encounters a fox. “If you want a friend, tame me.” said the Fox. The Fox then explained that to “tame” someone means to create ties”. The Fox further explained that in order to tame someone, certain “rites” have to be practiced, and it takes time and patience. Curiously, as it was for the Prince and the Fox, so it was true of us. Given the early history of our parish, there were many reasons for feelings of mistrust and suspicion. When we first met, we didn’t “need” each other. To me, you were like ten thousand other parishioners, and to you I was like ten thousand other pastors, “we had no need of each other.” However, as the Fox promised, “if you tame someone, you will need each other.” So, we followed and practiced “the rites”. We met regularly and observed one another from a distance, as if watching each other out of the corner of our eye, as it were. We didn’t say much at first because “ language is often the source of misunderstandings.”
Day by day, year by year we met and gradually we were able to sit a little closer. Ties were created, We spent much time together over these thirty one years and what happened is that we tamed each other. Now the time has come for me to leave. When it came time for the Little Prince to leave, the Fox was sad and so was the Little Prince. So the Fox shared a bit more wisdom to ease the experience of parting. The Fox reminded the Prince of the rose he had cared for on his home planet. It was his rose, the one he had sheltered behind a screen, she whom he had watered and protected from the caterpillars, the one he listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or sometimes when she said nothing at all. It was the time he “wasted” on his rose that made her unique to him in all the world. You are forever responsible for the one you have tamed
The Fox shared a further bit of wisdom with the Little Prince, “ It’s only with the heart that one sees rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.” “Foxes don’t eat bread, so the wheat fields say nothing to me. However, you have hair the color of gold, and because you have tamed me, the wheat, which is golden, will remind me of you. Now, I will love the sound of the wind in the wheat.”
Because I have lost most of my hair, which once was dark, but now is grey, I need to use a different image to remind you of me. Fr. George Murphy, who preached at the Mass of my installation as pastor on June 13, 1982, encouraged me to be “ a hugger “. With hugs and smiles I have greeted you these many years, heart to heart so we wouldn’t get confused. Now, when you greet each other with hugs and smiles, remember me. “It’s the time you wasted on the one you have tamed that makes them unique in all the world to you.”
“You are forever responsible for the one you have tamed.” You are unique to me in all the world. I will love you always.
June 23, 2013
VIDEOS AND AUDIOS FROM THE EVENTS
from his last Mass and preparations
MESSAGES TO FATHER TOM
THAT CAME INTO THE WEBSITE
Thank You for always taking my calls in person or on the phone. It has been a long slow journey back to the church and i always feel welcome when i drive up to Good Shepherd church as a Knight of Columbus or with my family or for a church function. Love, Mike Choate, Meredith & Suzanne
Dear Father Tom, Thank you for being our Pastor for the past 31 years. Thank you for helping us to grow because you believed in us and always affirmed us. Thank you for making Good Shepherd the best Parish. May you have many more years of health and happiness in your retirement. Ti voglio bene…per sempre. Terry & Tom
You are blessed by God. Marry and Jesus will be with you always. I cry when you say mess I know they are with you at the alter. Your kind spirit speaks to the masses. Upset or angry think back on a the people you helped and the upset will be removed.You have inspired me as you have countless others by word and deed to follow Jesus thank you. Keep the Rosary in your heart first Saturdays as I have and all problems will be resolved. Jesus and Marry love you. You are in my prayers always Charle
The Passarelli Family
You will truly be missed. You are an icon in our parish and a generous person. God Bless you always
You have been a wonderful Pastor and we appreciate all you did especially coming in to the parish at such a difficult time. Thank you and best of luck to you in your retirement.
Hi Father Tom, Just wanted to let you know how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to attend your masses. I will never forget the many things that you have taught me and I appreciate your kindness and your sense of humor. Enjoy every minute of your Retirement. You will GREATLY be missed! Love, the Kane Family!
Father Tom, we will never forget you Thanks for being a friend, and our inspiration. Love, Doris and Stan
Dear Father Tom, 31 years – Thirty one years of leadership Of courage, Of compassion 31 years of knowing everyone’s smile knowing their heart, Their fears. Their dreams 31 years of steering a sometimes rocky ship Of finding balance Of finding unity Of finding community Thank you Father Tom For 31 years Of love, Of friendship, Of loyalty Of grace glimpsed In your every smile, Every twinkle in your eye And every prayer said on our behalf May God hold you always In the Pal
Roselie & Anthony Cino
Where do we begin. It has been 23 yrs. since we met that warm beautiful face of yours. Your welcoming words of belonging & comfort. You became part of our family in many different ways. The marriages of our children, the baptism of our grandchildren & many Christmas dinners & gatherings we have had the pleasure of being together. No words can express the love we have for you & we wish you always Gods blessings in all your new endeavors. Thank you for being you. God bless you, love you much
Joe and Kathie Svercel
Father Tom – We wish you a very blessed, healthy and happy retirement.
Phil & Kathy Portanova
We will miss your personal touch whether your friendly greeting or your personalizing you sermons. You will always be a part of our Good Shepherd family. Wishing you a happy and healthy retirement.
Dear Father Tom: You have been a part of our family’s baptisms, communions and confirmations. Thank you for all your blessed and dedicated service to our own family, your entire parish and the Lord. You have touched countless lives in your time. May you have love and peace as you retire. With our regards, Diane, Bob, Emily, Steven and Tim McClernon
Pat & Bernie McGrath
So sorry we haven’t been able to get a reservation for your retirement dinner. Just goes to show you how popular you are. As they say the early bird catches the worm well we just waited to long and the place was booked. It has been our pleasure having you as our pastor all these years. Gee whiz we were all kids back then. I hope you will enjoy your retirement as mush as I have been enjoying mine. Good health to you and enjoy your retirement. You will be missed with that friendly smile and hug!
Hi Father Tom, I can’t believe you’re leaving Good Shephard. You have been the pastor there since before my family started attending. I’m going to miss you terribly especially since you’ve always been there waiting to say hello every since I was a little kid. I don’t want to say good bye so I pray that you’ll come back to visit. We all love you! Enjoy your retirement.
Allen Gordon GK
Father Tom, You have spent the majority of your life leading, loving, guiding, sharing and consoling those in need. You have been an inspiration and role model for hundreds probably thousands, during your shepherding of our flock. A Pastor may take over your position, but never will replace you in our hearts and minds. May God hold you and keep you happy and well during this next phase of your journey.
Jane and Phil Mears
Thank you so much for all the love, support and guidance you have given us over these last 31 years. You are and always will be such a special part of our lives. We will miss you so much. Love Jane and Phil Mears
Dear Father Tom, When I first came to GS in 1988, my good friend Mart Templeton told me how lucky I was What a wise woman I will miss you as our Good Shepherd and hope that your years ahead will be filled with the health and happiness that you so richly deserve God Bless you Terry
I keep remembering that movie and song, To Sir With Love, how do you thank someone who has done all that Fr Tom has for us. You will be missed but never forgotten, you are a part of all of us
In the very short time that I’ve been a member of this parish, I have come to the conclusion that I’ve missed out knowing a person so generous in spirit. Father Tom, you will be missed by this very special family known as the people of Good Shepherd. Enjoy your retirement!
Lorraine & Rich Rajkowski
Wishing you all the best in your retirement, you will never be forgotten. STO LAT
Florence & Frank Schumchyk
Dear Father Tom, It has been a joy to know you as our pastor and as our best friend all these years. You were so good to us and included us in so many special occasions. It’s always good to see. We wish you the very best in retirement. Love, Florence and Frank Schumchyk
Gail Schumchyk Black
Dear Father Tom, Thank you for being so kind to my mom and dad, especially for the visits to their home during their challenging elderly years with the loss of my brother, Thomas. You lightened their hearts. God Bless You Always, Gail Schumchyk Black
Thanks for being a real Good Shepherd . I was a lost sheep you helped me find my way back to the flock. Words can not express my gratitude .You will always be in my prayers and will surely be missed .You are leaving a tough act to follow for the new pastor . Everytime I go to communion, I will think of you and all your help that you gave me. Best wishes, Don & Dorothy Urbanski
Dear Fr. Tom,I will fondly remember all of the wedding celebrations we were a part of for more than 20 years. You spoke of looking into your partners eyes and seeing God in them. Well we have all looked into your eyes and heard your wonderful sermons and have seen and felt God through you. You will be missed by the Bush family. When I look back on the important occasions in our family album, you are there. You’re an important part of our family we hope we can stay in touch. God Bless You.
Ann Marie Aguila
Fr. Tom, Next to my parents, you have been one of the greatest influences in my life. I have looked up to you since I was 8 years old. You have been an integral part of our family the past 31 years, celebrating our highs with us and comforting us during our lows. Thank you for decades of your guidance,kindness,and compassion, but more importantly for your love. I wish you much peace, and love! God Bless you, always! With a grateful heart, Ann Marie
Father Tom I have always believed that you can speak to God whenever and wherever you want, not just in Church on Sundays. However, I always look forward to and enjoy your Masses as you know how to translate the Gospel into something everyone can understand – not an easy task. Thank you for taking time to talk to and help my son Christian deal with the death of his grandfather. You have always been the one person Christian looks forward to seeing when we go to Mass. God Bless.
Don’t weep because it’s over. Smile because it happened. God blessed us by sending us a man of spiritual strength and wisdom. He has anointed you, Fr. Tom, as a faithful and humble shepherd over His flock. We, the people of the 7 o’clock Mass, appreciate the daily sacrifices you have made to live the life Christ called you to. You have inspired us to grow and strengthen our journey to a closer relationship with Jesus. Thank you for leading us through prayer, worship, and the teaching of His
Father Tom, saying Thank you doesn’t seem enough. I don’t know if you know me, I’m always running in to the 8:30 mass, but you have helped me so much thru the 27 years I have been a member. At times of worry for me your homily talked right to me, I remember asking Father Charlie once how that happens and he said it was the Holy Spirit working thru you Priests for us. So thank you for bringing the Holy Spirit into my life. I will miss you very much. God Bless you Teacher.
Dear Father Tom, You have been always been a special person in our families lives. My children and grandchildren have received some of the sacraments with you, especially my daughter and son-in-law receiving their wedding vows performed by you. You have also given Bill and I your wisdom and support May your retirement be filled with enjoyment and good health. We will always keep you in our thoughts and prays. Love, Connie Buckingham & Billl Goldofski
Cynthia & Lou Boccabella
Living in Vero Beach Florida, we miss you and the Church of the Good Shepherd, we were in your parish until 1993 when we moved here. You were the best Pastor we ever knew. Saw you several times on our visits to Holbrook, haven’t been back in a few years. Wishing you the Very Best on your retirement Be Well and Enjoy each day.