SUMMERVILLE—The 25th anniversary of St. Theresa the Little Flower Church was marked by a most distinguished occasion on Nov. 21, the ordination to the priesthood of Father Richard B. Tomlinson.
The new priest also held the distinction of being the first man on whom Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone has conferred that sacrament.
In his homily, the bishop urged Father Tomlinson to minister with love and respect for God’s people, to teach what Christ has taught, to be in harmony with his bishop and to support the activity of the local church.
“Priests are workers of the bishop and are called to the service of the people of God,” he said.
Bishop Guglielmone spoke of the sacrifice of the Mass saying Christ came not to rule but to give himself to God’s people. He told Father Tomlinson to “imitate what you celebrate.”
“Carry out your ministry with constant joy and love attending not to yourself but to those followers of Jesus Christ,” he said. “Treat people with love and compassion. Recognize the compassion of Jesus Christ. Also minister to your fellow priests. They need your attention, prayer, love and support.”
Father Tomlinson served a pastoral year at St. Theresa and Bishop Guglielmone said spending that time with his brothers and sisters in Christ helped prepare him for this holy sacrament. He expressed gratitude to Father Tomlinson’s family, the parishioners of St. Theresa, and all who had come in contact with Father Tomlinson during his seminary years, while he served as a deacon, or while teaching classes at Catholic schools. They had part in his formation, the bishop said.
“No one person nourishes a vocation,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “It comes from many sources.”
One of those supporters was found in the priest who vested Father Tomlinson, Msgr. Walter Nolan, pastor of the family parish of St. Paul Church in Princeton, N.J. His family also attended his special day, including his mother and stepfather, Janet and John De Grouchy, and his siblings David, Andrew and Elizabeth. Over a dozen priests from the Diocese of Charleston also participated in the ordination, including Msgr. Edward Lofton, pastor of St. Theresa. He said the parish was delighted to mark its jubilee in such a way.
At the reception, Father Tomlinson told The Miscellany he felt relaxed during the ordination. When asked what he hoped to take with him into his future ministry he gave it some thought.
“What I’ve learned just in the past few months preparing for the priesthood, preparing to say Mass, is the confirmation to Christ,” he said. “And I hope not only will I have that, but I hope I will grow in that throughout my life.”
Father Bryan P. Babick, master of ceremonies, was in the last ordination class in 2007 and offered salient advice for the new priest.
“Pray,” he said. “Be a man of prayer first then do the work. Without prayer, the work is meaningless.”
Father Tomlinson has been assigned to Stella Maris Church on Sullivan’s Island. He celebrated his first liturgy there with a solemn high Latin Mass on Nov. 22.