By Andrew Nelson | Published July 6, 2015
It is with a heavy heart that we have to let everyone know that our beloved Fr Tom has passed away tonight. We know he…
I met Franciscan Father Tom Vigliotta a handful of times, traveling to Athens and the Catholic Center at the University of Georgia. You know you’ve arrived when you see a statue of St. Francis and there’s Ugga sitting at his feet.
On one reporting trip, I broke bread with Father Tom. During lunch, we were surrounded by college students. I sensed the pride he took in these young women and men.
He was part of an award-winning feature story I wrote in 2010 about the Catholic Center. It explored the weekly Thursday Night Theology book club, but really it was how young people make the faith of their parents their own. He treated the students as adults, exposing them to information and hosting authors with diverse points of view of the faith.
Here is what I wrote:
Father Tom, a 61-year-old native of New York, sees his role as helping students grow into mature Catholics, or, as he put it, to help them “get off the milk and get in the solid food.”
“Mostly, I’m trying to stir the pot to get them thinking,” he said, sitting in the center’s library before the students arrive. He has on wire-rimmed glasses, a maroon golf shirt and is soft spoken. He has been here since 2005.
During the summer, Father Tom and the other campus minister, Franciscan Father David Hyman, marked 25 and 50 years of ordination, respectively.
“I hope we did something here that they go and share their faith,” Father Tom said of the hoped-for impact on students. “They are just passing through. They will have a lot of offer.”
We’ll have more about the man and his ministry shortly.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory expressed his thoughts:
May St Francis welcome his son Tom Vigliotta, OFM into God's kingdom of peace. UGA community was blessed by the ministry offered by TV. +WDG
— Atlanta Archdiocese (@archatl) July 5, 2015