Father Richard B. Tomlinson has temporarily returned to his home state of New Jersey to help his elderly parents.
His stepfather, 91, and mother, 89, still live in his hometown of Princeton.
“I was visiting them on vacation this summer, and I was struck by how they were struggling a little bit with age and getting around doing things, so I thought if I could be up here a little bit, I could be of some help to them,” Father Tomlinson said in a recent interview. “I’ve been amazed how many people are so understanding of the situation. So many people are facing similar situations.”
Father Tomlinson received permission from Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone to move back to New Jersey initially for a year, although he acknowledges that timespan may be extended. He was serving as parochial vicar at Prince of Peace Church in Taylors.
Now he’s the chaplain at Monmouth University, a private institution in West Long Branch with about 6,000 students. He celebrates Mass, leads social gatherings and will plan retreats for the students.
“It’s always challenging working with young people because they have a lot of energy, they ask a lot of questions and there are a lot of other things going on in their lives,” he said. “It’s sometimes a challenge to make the Church relevant to them, but it’s important to be there. It’s a ministry of presence.”
He hopes to help some students become involved in volunteer work at a facility run by the Missionaries of Charity, where he will celebrate Mass once a week.
Father Tomlinson also assists at two parishes in the West Long Branch area, which is in the Diocese of Trenton.
“It’s comforting to be able to be near my parents,” he said. “It’s definitely a help to them, and it helps put my mind to rest too.”
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