Several of us had the great joy of attending the ordination of a young man who grew up in our community — Nathan O’Halloran S.J., the eldest son of Mike and Mary Ann Halloran. Nathan grew up on The Lord’s Ranch and felt called to become a Jesuit priest largely due to the inspiration and example of Father Thomas.
After graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, Nathan entered the Jesuits in 2003 — the same seminary in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, that Father Thomas had entered back in 1945. Nathan took his first vows as a Jesuit in 2005 and Father Thomas was able to be there for the event. “He cried during my vows,” Nathan recalled. “He told me that he saw a light coming down as I made my vows. That was so encouraging for me to hear.” Then 9 months later Father Thomas passed away.
|Father Rick Thomas at Nathan’s 1st vows.
Nathan completed 11 years of formation and was ordained a priest, along with four fellow seminarians, on June 14th. Before going to his first assignment, Fr. Nathan came to El Paso to celebrate Mass for us. He shared this during his homily:
“Right before Father Thomas died, he asked for Isaiah 35 to be read, which says: Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, Say to the fearful of heart: Be strong, do not fear! This was the garment that Father passed onto us, this spirit of courage and strength that he had, which came from the power of the Holy Spirit. He is praying for us right now.”
We feel sure that Father Thomas is praying for us, and for all of you who are such an important part of the ministries that he started. May we not be afraid to do all the Lord is asking us to do in His service!
|Fr. Nathan celebrating Mass at our prayer meeting.
Please pray for Fr. Nathan as he begins his priesthood. His vocation is one of the beautiful fruits of Father Thomas’s life of holiness.