ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Fr. Thomas Jones, 89, a professed Franciscan friar for 68 years and a priest for 62, died on Jan. 15 at Bon Secours Maria Manor Nursing Care Center. He spent the majority of his life ministering to Brazilians in South America and the United States.
A wake is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 2 at St. Mary Our Lady of Grace Church in St. Petersburg. It will be followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. Fr. Vincent Laviano, OFM, will preside and Fr. Eric Carpine, OFM, will give the homily. Fr. Tom’s cremains will be interred in Anápolis, Goiás, Brazil at a later date.
Fr. Tom was born on Nov. 21, 1932 in New York City to John and Katherine (née Stoll) Jones. After graduating from high school, he attended St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, New York. He was received into the Order of Friars Minor on Aug. 12, 1952 at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, New Jersey, where he professed first vows one year later. He made his solemn profession before Fr. Celsus Wheeler, OFM, on Aug. 19, 1956 at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany, New York, and was ordained a priest by Bishop Philip Hannan on April 25, 1959 at Mount St. Sepulchre Church at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, D.C.
Following ordination, Fr. Tom completed the Province’s standard fifth-year theology program with the rest of his classmates at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston. Having expressed a desire to serve in the Province’s missions in Brazil, his first assignment was to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Jataí from 1960 to 1964. He continued to work in parish ministry, serving as pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Porangatu, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Cristalândia, and St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Anápolis. From 1973 to 1974, he worked as an assistant at Immaculate Conception Parish in Ceres before returning briefly to the United States to update his theological education following the Second Vatican Council.
In 1976, Fr. Tom was appointed pastor of Our Lady of the Abby Parish in Quirinópolis, Brazil, where he served for three years. He then returned to the United States, serving as an associate at St. Anthony Shrine and ministering to Boston’s Brazilian immigrant community until 1984. He again returned to Brazil, serving as an associate at parishes in Araguacema and Cristalândia from 1985 to 1988.
He came back to the United States in 1988, serving for two years as parochial vicar at Holy Cross Parish in the Bronx, New York, and again at St. Anthony Shrine from 1990 to 1996. He was then appointed pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Narrowsburg, New York, serving for six years there before returning once more to Brazil. He ministered there for another six years, working in the village of Fortaleza do Tabocão, at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Anápolis, and Our Lady Mother of God Parish in Catalão.
In 2010, he returned to Sullivan County in the United States, serving as pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Yulan, New York until his retirement in 2014. He continued to minister to the Brazilian- American community in the Tampa, Florida area while he resided at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg.
He is survived his brother John (Jack) of East Marion, New York; a sister, Marilyn Jones Campbell of Spokane, Washington,; and several nieces and cousins.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.
- “Mission Accomplished for Retiree Thomas Jones” – Nov. 16, 2018, HNP Today
- “Friars Participate in Brazil Anniversary Celebration” – Aug. 8, 2018, HNP Today