Enjoy this delightful conversation between friends, Mother Assumpta, O.P. and Most Reverend Bishop Daniel Thomas of the Diocese of Toledo, OH. Raised in Philadelphia in a Catholic neighborhood (Manayunk) by two beautifully Catholic parents, His Excellency shares his journey to becoming the eighth bishop of Toledo, OH.
Mother Assumpta: We’re so blessed to have Bishop Daniel Thomas with us today. He was the main celebrant of our First Profession Mass and has been a great friend for years.
Most Reverend Daniel E. Thomas: Well, Mother, it’s a great joy to be with you. It’s such a treat also to do this podcast with you. And of course, I know when you say “years of friendship,” we don’t like to admit how many years there are of that friendship –
Mother Assumpta: Oh my goodness. Well, you know Bishop, I realize that you’ve had a long journey before you were a bishop. Could you just share a bit of that with us?
Most Reverend Daniel E. Thomas: Certainly, I learned what married love was like through my mom and dad, Fran and Anna and I had one brother, Francis. I grew up in a Catholic neighborhood called Manayunk in Philadelphia and it was in a Catholic parish, Holy Family Parish in Manayunk. I had the great blessing of having the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; they served the school – and that was a tremendous gift. Then I had the blessing of going to [a] Roman Catholic High School for boys in the city of Philadelphia – and at the end of high school then discerned the vocation to at least test the discernment for the priesthood. So I went to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia.
Whenever I’m giving talks in grade schools, the children always ask, “Bishop, when did you feel that call?” and I always say, “So in sixth grade, I wanted to be a tennis player, an English teacher, a veterinarian, but always wanted to be a priest, too, alongside of those.”
After my ordination as a deacon I was assigned for my ‘deacon year’ at St. Anthony’s in Ambler and then after ordination as a priest I was assigned to St. Joseph’s Parish in Aston, which lasted two years because the Cardinal Archbishop asked me to go to graduate studies in Rome at the Gregorian University.
Mother Assumpta: Now, when did you get the message, or how did you get the message when you were appointed a bishop?
Most Reverend Daniel E. Thomas: I got the message through Cardinal Justin Rigali. And, of course, I had worked with him in the Congregation for Bishops in Rome where I worked for fifteen years as a priest.
The Lord took care of me for eight years as the auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia with four years under Cardinal Rigali and then the great blessing of serving for four years under Archbishop Charles Chaput.
Mother Assumpta: You had two great mentors!
Most Reverend Daniel E. Thomas: Quite, quite, quite blessed. Both great men of the Church and taught me many, many things literally about being a bishop.
Mother Assumpta: Were you shocked with going to Ohio?
Most Reverend Daniel E. Thomas: I was very shocked. When the nuncio called me, I was on vacation actually, and it was on the 14th of August and he said to me, “the Holy Father has named you the Bishop of Toledo,” and I was just completely silent.
And he said, “Well, the Holy Father would like this and do you accept?”
I said, “Well, Archbishop trusting in the mercy of the Lord and His grace then I say yes.”