Print Edition: Feb. 22, 2015
Sign-up for our E-letter!
To: (Multiple email addresses may be specified by separating them with a comma)
BY JOSEPH PRONECHEN
Young Tom Margevicius dreamed of becoming a priest while growing up
Those dreams appeared dashed when the high-school seminary he attended closed.
At that point he changed course and turned to his other love, the great
After earning a degree in wildlife
biology, he went to work for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Informing the public about nature’s wonders in state parks, he found himself
relatively happy — but essentially unfulfilled.
“Working for the government, I
couldn’t talk about God,” he recalls. “I preferred to tell people about the
Today Father Margevicius
(pronounced Mar-GEV-ishis) is able to combine his two
great loves. Ordained in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in May 1999, he served for a time
as a parish priest and is now a fulltime professor of liturgical theology at
the archdiocesan St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity. On weekends he puts his
fluency in American Sign Language to the best of uses, ministering to the
archdiocesan deaf community at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church.
Sign language and the signs in
nature have expanded his ministry, so to speak.
“He brings that love of nature, that respect for God’s created earth, to his
priesthood,” says Father Kevin Finnegan, pastor of Divine
in Faribault, Minn., who has known Father Margevicius 20 years.
sees the world as an artist sees the world,” explains Laure
Krupp of the Cathedral of St. Paul. “He has a way of
drawing the curtain back and showing us that beauty of God like an artist does.
“One thing an artist does is
capture an image that the rest of us have walked by a thousand times,” she adds.
“In capturing it, they make the world stop and say it is beautiful. That’s what
Father Tom does in his liturgy and in the way he lives out his priesthood.”
For James and Beth Mathewson, the young priest’s way of making the Scriptures
come alive fanned their faith into a bonfire.
Neither will forget one homily
Father Margevicius gave at Nativity of Our Lord
Church on Jesus teaching about those who are drawn to light and those who stay
away from it (John 12:35-36).
“He explained it in terms of
everyday decisions we make,” says James. “We were practicing Catholics active
in the Church, but we had a reawakening of the faith. And that was the homily
that started it all.”
“Over the two years Father Tom was
[at our parish], our faith just blossomed,” adds James. “Since then, it has
James says Father Margevicius has a way of preaching that gets to the heart
of the Scriptures, addressing difficulties and making sense of puzzling
passages. His explanations, says James, make effective apologists of everyday
Not to mention making New
Evangelization-minded priests of today’s seminarians.
While himself a seminarian, Father
Margevicius looked to Father Bill Kenney, the Twin
Cities chaplain to the deaf for 40 years, as a mentor.
Later, while serving at Our Lady
of Mount Carmel Church — where 40% of the 200 families are deaf or hard of
hearing — he decided to study American Sign Language.
Shortly after Father Margevicius was ordained, Father Kenney retired and the
younger priest gladly assumed the chaplaincy. Weekends he ministers to the deaf
community at the church. And he makes trips to Father Finnegan’s church an hour
away to administer the sacrament of reconciliation to the deaf community there.
Father Finnegan believes that his
friend’s great love for people and their needs is in part influenced by the
fact both his parents immigrated to this country.
“I’ve always noticed that he knows
himself, his needs for the sacraments, and his people,” adds Father Finnegan.
“I’m always glad because I know he’s a great confessor.”
In Loco Christi
In turn, the deaf have taught
Father Margevicius. “Working with the deaf forces me
to broaden my perspective,” he says. “They see right through phoniness. They
know if I’m sincere or not.”
Then, too, he says, they’re very “incarnational”: They need to see your body language in
order to communicate with your heart.
This realization, he says, has
helped him improve as a teacher of seminarians. He stresses that reverent
posture and movements are important when presiding at the liturgy in order for
the truth and beauty of the Mass to come across.
His goal is to have the future
priests in his liturgy classes be fiercely loyal to the Church’s liturgy and at
the same time be “very human” in being in
persona Christi for the faithful.
“When they see Father up front,
they need to know they’re not getting an affectation, but the genuine article,”
he says. “It’s the Church’s liturgy prayed by a real man. He embodies what the
Church expects him to embody.”
Others notice that Father Margevicius practices what he preaches.
“He’s a true lover of the liturgy,” says Krupp. “It’s like he himself is almost an outflow of it.
You forget it’s him. He really does decrease and Christ does increase.”
Joseph Pronechen writes from
Copyright © 2015 EWTN News, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction of material from this website without written permission is strictly prohibited.
Accessed from 126.96.36.199