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Bishop Frederick Campbell's homily at the funeral Mass for Father Charles Theodore Thomas on Thursday, April 28, at Columbus St. Mary Church

"'Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:3-4).'

"Exalting in the resurrection of the Lord, St. Paul encourages the Colossians to know that if they are faithful to Christ, they will share His glorious life. As for now, our lives are hidden with God in Christ hidden not only in the sense that their full meaning and purpose are not and cannot be known completely now, but also in the sense that they rest in and are protected by the God of Jesus Christ.

"Today, we have brought the body of Father Charles Theodore Thomas 'Father Ted' to many to the church where he administered the sacraments, preached the Gospel, and celebrated the Holy Eucharist. As we draw his body close to the altar of God, we offer our prayers for his intentions and enfold him in the paschal mystery of the passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of our hope.

"The readings for today's Mass are all taken from the celebration of Easter. I asked that they be read for two reasons. They are especially appropriate for a funeral celebrated within the octave of Easter, but I also wanted to acknowledge how Father Thomas longed to celebrate the paschal Triduum with his parishioners how, shortly before his final hospitalization and subsequent death, he spoke of the life and goodness that he experienced in his paschal ministry among the people.

"Today, then, we continue our observance of the Easter that he so wanted to celebrate, and now we do it for his good, for our faith and consolation, and for the honor and praise of the lifegiving Lord.

"Some have observed that if one were to die, how appropriate it is to die on Easter Sunday, the feast of the resurrection. But I wonder if any day can be called an appropriate one on which to die.

"In the beginning, God did not intend that we should die. Born as we are into a world wounded by sin and obscured by twilight, we suffer sickness and infirmity and, even though we find death an offense to our true nature which it is we are subject to it. Yet it was to undo this situation that Jesus came among us, like us in all things but sin. He experienced our longings and our sorrows, our suffering and even our death, to transform them by hope and the revelation of new life.

"Lord knows, Father Thomas understood the meaning of suffering. His Lent was a long one. He had his dark and uncomfortable days, but when I spoke with him, there seemed always to be a level frame of mind and that modest voice, which led me to wonder whether he shared, in some measure, St. Paul's mysterious message to the Colossians: 'Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body; that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given me for you, to make the word of God fully known.'

"I recall Father Thomas' presence at a Confirmation that I administered at the Church of St. Timothy. He was there to act as sponsor for a young relative. I invited him to concelebrate the Mass with me, but he demurred, saying that he needed to sit carefully throughout most of the service, but he did want to support his relative. As I spoke with him, I could not notice that quiet smile in his eyes and remember his wry humor, especially displayed the time that he was playing host to me.

"I had come to St. Mary's to confer Confirmation on the parish's candidates. At one point in the ceremony, I could not find Father Thomas in the sanctuary, but later I noticed him sitting there. After Mass, I asked what happened. Was he taken ill? No, he said, he had run over to the rectory to check on the lamb chops that he was preparing for luncheon, because he knew that I liked mine medium.

"I thought how cleverly he explained his breach of liturgical etiquette. It was as if he said that he would never do such a thing, except to assure the bishop's comfort and his gastronomical preferences. I told him that I was perfectly willing to share a meal with him, even if the lamb chops had become burnt offerings. 'Oh, bishop,' he replied, 'but then you would have eaten only one.'

"To see our suffering as part of the redemptive suffering of Christ requires the gift of wisdom of which Baruch speaks in our first reading a reading that we first heard at the Easter vigil. This wisdom is a gift of God that enlightens and comforts. Even in the midst of distress, it gives a reason for rejoicing.

"Baruch calls upon us 'to turn and receive (this wisdom); walk by her light toward splendor. Give not your glory to another, your privileges to an alien race. Blessed are we, O Israel, for what pleases God is known to us.'

"Immediately before our Lord ascended to His heavenly Father, He promised His disciples that He would be with them until the end of all time. It is a promise that Father Thomas evoked every time that he celebrated Mass, making present the Lord's saving word and His lifegiving body and blood. In the day-to-day celebration of the holy Eucharist, this promise becomes a blessed assurance that we are never alone. It is the strength of martyrs and the comfort of the afflicted

"Perhaps this is the reason that a particular command of Christ is repeated throughout the ministry of Jesus Christ, both before and after his resurrection. In Matthew's account of the resurrection, the command is first voiced by the angel and then by the risen Lord Himself: 'Do not be afraid.' When the disciples were awash in an angry sea and crying out for help, the Lord appeared to them and said 'Get hold of yourselves. It is I. Do not be afraid.'

"I was struck by Father Thomas' baptismal names, Charles Theodore. There is great meaning in a name. The name given to us at baptism is the name by which God will know us all throughout all eternity. It was only when she heard the risen Lord call her by name that Mary Magdalene recognized Jesus after the resurrection. "I do not know why Father Thomas preferred to use his middle name instead of his first, but I thought that it provided a small connection between him and me. I have a brother, also a priest, with the same two names as Father Thomas, but in the reverse order. When my brother was a child and being introduced to someone, he would announce 'My name is Theodore,' and matter-of-factly add, 'and the name means gift of God.'

"Father Thomas is a gift of God, as we all are in many senses. We are a gift of a loving Father, given life to achieve a certain purpose here on this earth. What we have received as a gift we give as a gift. The living of life for the good of others is the life that Jesus revealed to us and, in the end, is the true source of happiness. It is often in the seemingly small ways that these gifts bear the greatest fruit, not in the grand plans and vast projects, but in the word of consolation, a good ear, a gesture of

"We thank the Lord for the many gifts that Father Thomas shared with the family given to him both by blood and by ordination. He loved his family and his parishioners. Yet the final summing up of his life must be left to Jesus Christ, who knows us better than we know ourselves. Therefore in remembering Father Thomas, we also remember the life and death and resurrection of Jesus, the source of our hope and confidence, who tells us that we are never alone and need not be afraid, even at the moment of death.

"It is in this confidence and faith that we commend Father Thomas into the strong hands of our Lord as we celebrate the Eucharist for which this priest of Christ was ordained and in which he found the heart of his pastoral ministry.

"Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord; may he rest in peace; may his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace."


Father Thomas Obit

Reverend Charles Theodore (Ted) Thomas, pastor of St. Mary, St. Ladislas and Corpus Christi Churches, died early Easter morning, April 24. 2011.

The son of Pete and Lillian (Smith) Thomas, he was born in Columbus on September 24, 1947. He is preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Mary (Leo) LaPointe, Helen (Dick) Rohrer and Martha; brothers, George, John (Mary), brother-in-law, Chuck Oliver.

He is survived by brothers, Jim (Doris), Joe (Pat), and Leo (Gerry); sisters, Betty (Ted) Jasper and Dorothy Oliver; and sister-in-law, Lettie, as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, and many dear and close friends, many of whom became part of his extended family.

Father Thomas attended Holy Name and Sacred Heart Elementary Schools, Columbus and Bishop Watterson High School and St. Charles College Seminary in Columbus, earning a B.A. in Philosophy in 1969. He subsequently studied theology at Mount St. Mary of the West Seminary, Norwood, Ohio, from which he graduated in 1973 with a Masters of Divinity, as well as earning a Masters of Arts in History from Xavier University, Cincinnati, in 1972. He was ordained to the Priesthood May 26, 1973 by the Most Reverend Archbishop Joseph Bernardin.

Father Thomas served as Associate Pastor at St. Mary Church, Portsmouth (1973-78); Associate Director of Vocations and instructor (1978-81), providing weekend assistance at Our Lady of Lourdes, Marysville (1980-81); Administrator, Pro-Tem at St. Timothy Church, Columbus (1981). He served as Pastor of St. Thomas, Columbus (1981-82); St. Timothy Church, Columbus (1982-92); Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Ada (1992-96); St. Vincent de Paul Church, Mt. Vernon, (1996-2006); St. Mary Church, Columbus (2006-2011); Corpus Christi and St. Ladislas Churches, Columbus, while continuing as Pastor of St. Mary Church (2010-2011). In addition, he taught at Notre Dame High School, Portsmouth (1973.-78), Bishop Hartley High School (1978-80) and Bishop Watterson High School (1980-81); Judge for the Marriage Tribunal (1987-94); Episcopal Vicar for Communications Pro-Tem and Diocesan Director of Campus Ministry (1993-2006) while also serving as Catholic Chaplain to Kenyon College (1996-2006). He served as Editor Pro-Tem of the Catholic Times (1997-1998) and for many years was a regular contributor to the Catholic times.

Father Ted loved working with youth groups, often hosting parties or being the driver for field trips. He also loved cooking, eating and sharing meals and traveling with his fellow priests. He had a wonderful gift for making people feel very special. His loving, caring, funny spirit and acceptance of all of God's children allowed him to accomplish much and endear him to all. He touched many lives and will be so greatly missed.

Father Thomas' body will be received at St. Mary Church, 672 S. Third Street, Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday where friends may call from 2-7pm, and will lie in state until the Funeral Mass at 11am. Thursday. Most Rev. Bishop Frederick F. Campbell, Celebrant Burial at St. Joseph Cemetery will take place following the Funeral Liturgy. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Mary Church, 672 S. Third Street, Columbus, Ohio, 43206. Arrangements are under the care of the MAEDER-QUINT-TIBERI FUNERAL HOME. 614-444-1185.

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