After cutting his teeth on various parishes in San Diego and Riverside, then part of the San Diego Diocese he was assigned as pastor of St. Mark's Catholic Church on Discovery in San Marcos and the parishioners found quite a discovery in this gem from the emerald isle. We had known of him when we attended St. Francis and interacted with him through Knights of Columbus activities, but we really came to know and love him when we enrolled at St. Mark's upon our return to Southern California from Dallas. We felt so blessed that we had gone from one great, traditional and orthodox parish in Texas to the same here. As Father Ramon Marrufo, one time his assistant, now pastor of St. Francis, said last night in his tribute to Monsignor Tom, "He knew one language: the language of the Gospel which translated to the language of love." He was there for everyone and, as so many who spoke last night testified to, once he got to know you, he trusted you as a friend for life. We have lost a very dear friend. He encouraged us in our ministry at MIR-A-CALL Center and with the DAILY CATHOLIC and, just last week, offered any help he could to help keep the ministry afloat as we are experiencing a dire financial crunch. He was there for every parishioner, a man of deep faith and prayer who could be found more often in front of the Tabernacle praying then outside kibitzing with parishioners. He did plenty of the latter, but prayer and the Sacraments always came first in his deep love for Jesus and His Blessed Mother. Through his inspiration the parish grew dramatically over the years and he built a magnificent church that kept Christ centrally focused with one of the most beautiful, moving crucifixes one will ever see hanging above the altar. No modern or abstract art or architecture here, just the traditional environment in a modern edifice to honor God. The same with the parish hall and a mission parish a few miles away - they were simple, but functional and full of love and caring. The campus is a tribute to the Monsignor where the parish family will sorely miss this great man who was made a monsignor in May 1985.
It was ironic that just a few weeks ago on World Day of Prayer for Vocations before Mass one of the Lectors announced that there would be no priest for Mass that morning and only a Communion Service. He was, of course, saying that to wake the faithful to the fact that the Church is sorely in need of priests and that this scenario could indeed happen. We didn't realize how soon! Just a few days after Monsignor Tom's death, his only assistant at St. Mark's Father Aurelio Crisologo suffered a stroke and is presently in the hospital, leaving the parish currently without a priest. Though there will be 150 priests and Bishop Robert H. Brom presiding at Monsignor Tom's funeral Mass this morning, the Diocese, like so many dioceses around the country are desperate for priests. By tomorrow afternoon there will be no priests at St. Mark's and we have to pray the Bishop will appoint a pastor soon...if there are any eligible candidates out there. So pray for the family of St. Mark's and for vocations. As we have mentioned so often the Church is at a crisis period and vocations are a priority. Our Lady has said over and over that there will come a time that the Eucharist is scarce. We are coming to those times. Be prepared and pray. Pray for vocations and soon!
And so, we bury two great men this week; both with great pomp and circumstance. The circumstances surrounding the song Frank Sinatra wrote and sang - New York, New York, brings home a point. The lyrics went: "if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere." We like to think he was referring to our beloved pastor. Both, in their own way, made their mark in this world and, while one starred in the award-winning movie of 1953, the other is assured of fulfilling it's title with Oscars and Grammies aplenty in Heaven; for it is Monsignor Tom who is now truly experiencing his rewards...for he has faithfully completed that last road "From Here to Eternity."
O! How weak My children have become in FORTITUDE, which disposes you to do that which is right despite all difficulties.
Rather, My enemy, satan, has taken fortitude from you and he has replaced it with the strong human will to seek ease, comfort in all things.
The holy virtue of Fortitude disposes your soul to cling to Me, the Way, the Truth and the Life. As if a mirror, Fortitude looks at Me, receives My Truth and reflects it back to you who are My child, enabling you to see that which is right and just before Me.
When you are alive with Fortitude you bear My armor and go forward one moment at a time toward Me, your Eternal God, your Eternal Goal.
But human life, due to Original Sin and your weakened nature, is not a path of glory. The evil one, seeing your misery whispers to you incessantly that you do not have to travel through thorny brambles, but he points out to you his falsehoods-for he shows to you a life resplendent with worldly luxuries, which give the mortal body every conceivable comfort. Your nature, unfortified by holy virtue, leaps into the arms of satan where you revel in finite pleasures and neglect fully your soul which is immortal.
Does not Sacred Scripture tell you that in the end times, despite My many warnings and miracles, mankind shall choose the false mirage of satan, and be lost to the true Light?
Is this not the very case of the world today? Fortitude has been replaced by selfishness. This selfishness is so rampant that My Gospel has been as diluted as to bear no meaning for you. Without Fortitude you are helpless victims of satan and all his cohorts, which are legion. You do not recognize these demons who pull at your human weakness, because you search for any way and means to escape the slightest discomfort.
To possess Holy Fortitude is to labor in My vineyard, unconscious of the heavy sweat of your labor. Fortitude does not look at bodily pain and discomfort. Fortitude accepts these sufferings in My Name. Nor does Fortitude look at the sufferings of the world, nor does it hear the mockery, rebuffs, persecutions hurled against you by those who have lost faith and seek their joy in their earthly life. Fortitude is that virtue which propels you onward into My eternal embrace and counts as nothing the wear on the mortal body, nor the wounds to the heart. Fortitude enables you to carry such bodily hurts and heart-felt wounds as precious treasures which you humbly lay at the Foot of My Cross for love of Me. Holy Fortitude streams from My Most Precious wounds. It strengthens, nourishes, encourages and assists the soul to remain united to Me in all things.
I do solemnly tell you that by the virtue of Fortitude you, who are My children, grow strong in faith. You are filled with holy trust and love transcends all human emotions. Because of Holy Fortitude you are chained, as it were, to My Sacred Cross. Your abode is the Refuge of My Sacred Heart and you receive comfort in all afflictions.
But if you permit Fortitude to die, you are as a dead person whose grave has not been readied. Aimlessly, lifelessly, you wander from thing to thing, from person to person searching for that which will ease the sorrows of earthly life. And in each circumstance you find neither comfort or solace because you do not have Fortitude, which comes only from Me. Instead, you grow more restless, more eager for your own pleasure and thus, not finding it, you are led by satan to despair.
I solemnly tell you that so sadly has Holy Fortitude been rejected that every conceivable evil now exists upon the face of the earth. Life is disdained. Murder, especially of the unborn, is an abomination before Me. Reverence for Me, respect for My Laws, and consequently respect for all men does not exist, because you do not have Fortitude.
Go then to Confession and receive My Mercy and Forgiveness so that the virtue of Fortitude may once again shine forth from your soul. By frequent Mass and Holy Communion, your Fortitude will never be diminished, but will glow brightly in your dark, sinful world.
Pray much. Make sacrifice. Mortify your body that the virtue of Holy Fortitude may be a guide in these end times. You must be courageous in seeking and doing that which is right, for if you do not seek and do as I have commanded, you cannot say you are Mine.
Heed My Words, dear children. I give them to strengthen you so that you might persevere. I solemnly tell you: I Come!
Death of Saint Dunstan, Irish saint, Benedictine monk, and Archbishop of Canterbury who revived monasticism in the Bristish Isles. He is Patron Saint of armorers, goldsmiths, locksmiths and jewelers.
Death of Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor during the reign of Pope Honorius III.
Death of Pope Saint Celestine V, 192nd successor of Peter, who renounced the papacy when he realized he was a mere instrument in the hands of the lords of those troubled medieval times.
Death of Saint Ives also known as Saint Ivo Helory of Kermartin. Forty-four years after his death he was canonized by Pope Clement VI and is today known as the Patron Saint of Lawyers.
Cardinal Pierre Roger becomes Pope Clement VI, 198th successor of Peter, who was the fourth in the Avignon line of Popes. Clement VI, known for being a great protector of the Jews, bought the city of Avignon for 18,000 gold florins.
Birth of Blessed Pope Innocent XI, in Como, Italy as Benedetto Odescalchi who would become the 240th successor of Peter.