Fri. Sep. 29, 2017
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
St. Jude Shrine
3103 N. Main Street
Stafford , TX 77477.
Fri. Sep. 29, 2017
7:30 pm
St. Jude Shrine
3103 N. Main Street
Stafford , TX 77477.
Sat. Sep. 30, 2017
9:00 am - 10:00 am
St. Jude Shrine
3103 N. Main Street
Stafford , TX 77477.
Sat. Sep. 30, 2017
10:00 am
St. Jude Shrine
3103 N. Main Street
Stafford , TX 77477.
Thu. Oct. 5, 2017
11:00 am
St. Jospeh's Cemetery

Bowbells , ND .
In Memory of
Father Thomas Dignan
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Last Monday, we were saddened by the loss of our own Fr. Thomas Dignan, who died September 25, 2017, at 7:30 P.M. The death of a holy priest, however, is not a time to mourn, but to give thanks to God for the years he was with us. And as we pray for his eternal rest, we are joined today by his two sisters, Helen Liddiard and Teresa Hull. To them and to the rest of his family and friends, we offer our sincere condolences.

Thomas Lawrence Dignan was born in Portal, North Dakota on August 30th, 1930. He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood of Jesus Christ on June 1, 1957, at St. Joseph’s Church in Bowbells, North Dakota. After many years of faithful service in the Diocese of Bismarck, Fr. Dignan retired, and eventually found his way to us at Saint Jude Shrine thirteen years ago.

We know that it belongs to God alone to judge the life and the deeds of any human being, and God alone decides his eternal destiny. We may believe that someone is in heaven with God, or well on his way, knowing of his goodness and special qualities as a human being, and that he was a man of faith. But we must leave judgment to God, and pray for the eternal rest of those who have died.

How gravely this duty is being neglected today! One of the great heresies that threaten us is the idea that virtually everyone goes to Heaven, and that it is not necessary for the Church to pray for the dead. In Holy Scripture, in a passage written over one hundred years before the time of Our Lord, we read:

It is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be released from their sins” (2Mach.12:46).

There are few true priests left, may they all be like Fr. Dignan, a faithful and holy priest, a man of prayer, a blessing for all of us. His was the example, the spiritual help, the kindly manner, and the willingness to get involved in everything that went on at St. Jude’s.

Fr. Dignan was a “hands-on” priest. Besides offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, hearing Confessions, giving religious instruction, or administering the Last Rites, he was also ready to take up hammer and saw, to climb a ladder, and to fix whatever needed fixing around the shrine. Father had a great interest in aeronautics, and he seemed to know everything there was to know about flight. He was not only accomplished at building and flying model airplanes, but was also a licensed pilot. His other favorite hobby was making musical instruments, especially harps. He could be heard at times picking out a hymn tune or an Irish melody in his room. (So he liked flying and playing the harp. Does that tell us something?).

Above all, Fr. Dignan was a priest of Our Lord Jesus Christ. St. Paul numbers the Holy Priesthood among the gifts of service given by the Holy Ghost, as he says in Ephesians:

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s bestowal… And he himself gave some men as apostles, and some as prophets, others again as evangelists, and others as pastors and teachers, in order to perfect the saints for a work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the deep knowledge of the Son of God, to perfect manhood, to the mature measure of the fullness of Christ. And this he has done that we may be now no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine devised in the wickedness of men, in craftiness, according to the wiles of error. Rather are we to practice the truth in love, and so grow up in all things in him who is the head, Christ” (Eph.4:7;11-15).

How many today are “tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine”! They have become carless about their salvation, falsely believing that virtually everyone is saved, and that there will be no accounting to God for their actions in this world. They forget the teachings of Our Lord about the eternal punishment of the wicked, and the words of St. Paul:

Work our your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil.2:12).

But God has provided for us. The priesthood is one of the gifts of service, without which the Gospel would not be preached, the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion would not be administered, the sick would not be prepared for death, and the dead would not be buried with the full rites of the Church. And especially, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass would not be offered, and the prophecy of Malachias would not be fulfilled:

From the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles: and in every place there is sacrifice and there is offered to my name a clean oblation. For my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts” (Mal.1:11).

One of the great trials the Church suffers today is the scarcity of true and holy priests like Fr. Dignan. Nevertheless we are confident that the Lord will never allow the forces of evil to prevail against His Church. The Prophet Malachias reassures us that the Holy Priesthood and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will one day be renewed, and the Lord Himself will restore His Church:

Behold I send my angel, and he shall prepare the way before my face. And presently the Lord whom you seek, and the angel of the testament whom you desire shall come to his temple. Behold he cometh, saith the Lord of hosts. And who shall be able to think of the day of his coming? And who shall stand to see him? For he is like a refining fire and like the fuller’s herb. And he shall sit refining and cleansing the silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi and shall refine them as gold and as silver: and they shall offer sacrifices to the Lord in justice. And the sacrifice of Juda and of Jerusalem shall please the Lord, as in the days of old and in the ancient years” (Mal.3:1-4).