Born and raised in southern Minnesota, Tom did his graduate studies in theology at the Washington (D.C.) Theological Union and the University of Geneva. He was ordained a Paulist in 1975, and served in campus ministry at the Ohio State University (Columbus) and at McGill University (Montreal, QC.), prior to directing the Montreal-based Canadian Centre for Ecumenism for 14 years and working in all ten provinces of Canada. Perceiving the need for places where Christians of different traditions could gather to share faith and life with each other as well as with members of other religions, he spearheaded the founding of Unitas in Montreal, an ecumenical center for spirituality and Christian meditation co-sponsored by eight different denominations. He served as its director for five years prior to answering the call of his community in January of 2000 to set up and develop the Paulist Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations.
Father Tom leads ecumenical and interfaith retreats, seminars, workshops, and four-day faith renewal events (Gospel Call). He states "Among these, I have come to accord a special place to retreats and Gospel Call. In my perception, the most heat and light in the work for unity today is found in the area often called spiritual ecumenism wherein members of different churches and faith traditions discover and receive valuable spiritual gifts from each other's heritages."
The retreats generally envision people of Christian backgrounds and seek to open them to an experience of how all we hold in common in Christ is much broader and deeper than what still divides us. In the retreat setting, people are away from their customary preoccupations, their hearts and minds are open, they rest and relax, and new possibilities emerge. It is through sharing such time, space, and experience that people change their perceptions of one another and form new relationships. Some of the retreat themes are sufficiently universal to include both Christians and members of other world religions in a shared retreat