Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Father Thomas "Tom" C. Widner, SJ, who was called to eternal life on August 13, 2018. Tom died at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. He was seventy-six years old, a Jesuit for almost thirty-three years, and a priest for forty-nine years.
Born in Beech Grove, Ind. on April 27, 1942, Tom attended Latin High School (then a pre-seminary boys' high school) and Father Thomas Scecina Memorial High School in Indianapolis, where he is fondly remembered by his classmates. He graduated from Marian College in 1964 with a bachelor's degree in English. He did seminary studies at St. Mary's College in Kentucky (1964-1965) and Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis, Mo. (1965-1969) before being ordained on May 24, 1969, for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. He also earned master's degree in English from the University of Notre Dame (1969).
After ordination, Tom spent fifteen years working in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. He taught English at Latin High School (Indianapolis) and was an associate pastor at Our Lady of the Greenwood (1969-1972) before becoming the co-pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church (1972-1975). From 1975-1984, he was the editor-in-chief of The Criterion, the Archdiocesan newspaper, while he was in residence at St. Susanna Church (1975-1977), in residence at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church (1977-1979), priest in residence at St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church (1979-1984), associate pastor of St. Barnabas Catholic Church, and administrator of Holy Trinity Parish in Edinburgh, Ind. (1984-1985).
On August 31, 1985, Tom entered the Society at Loyola House in Berkeley, Mich. After first vows, Tom was an assistant editor and writer for America Magazine (1987-1991). He was the associate director of the Spiritual Renewal Center in Hammond, Ind. (1991-1992) before taking on the duties of editor-in-chief of The New World (the Archdiocese of Chicago Newspaper). From 1995-1997, Tom was a publications assistant at Company Magazine while director of the Chicago Province Communication Office. He spent two years in retreat ministry and as a staff member at Jesuit Spiritual Center at Milford before moving to Washington, D.C. and working as the Secretary for Communications at the USA Jesuit Conference (1999-2004) in addition to being the superior of Leonard Neale House (2001-2004).
Tom moved back to Indianapolis in 2004 where he was the vice president for mission and identity at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School and rector of the Jesuit Community (2004-2010). In 2010, he became the director of spiritual formation at Bishop Bruté Seminary where he worked until his death.
Throughout his life, Tom continually cultivated his union with God and was greatly admired for his life of prayer. This union with God made Tom a wonderful spiritual director, a great pastor, and an attentive superior. Tom's great love for the Society of Jesus was seen especially in his role as director of mission and identity at Brebeuf. While director, he established a program to train lay people to be directors of the Spiritual Exercises. This program, and the directors it formed allowed many faculty members to make the nineteenth annotation of the Exercises. For the past eight years, Tom brought his love of God and his understanding of Ignatian Spirituality and discernment to seminarians in his role as spiritual director at Simon Bruté College Seminary. This is a gift the seminarians — and the Church in Indiana — will not forget.
As a Jesuit, Tom maintained close relationships with archdiocesan priests, both socially and in prayer groups. While at Brebeuf, he was a link between the community and the archdiocesan priests - especially for the much-anticipated annual party for the priests of the archdiocese at the Brebeuf Community.
Sunday, August 19, 2018
4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
St. Andrew Church
4052 E. 38th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46218
Mass of Christian Burial
Monday, August 20, 2018
St. Andrew Church
A reception will follow the Mass in St. Andrew's parish hall.
Monday, August 20, 2018
435 W Troy Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46225