Take 5 with Father: mission minded
HE IS: Father Tom Craig, Director of Propagation of the Faith and Chairman of the Diocesan Mission Council since 2016.
His pastoral service includes St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Arlington, Sacred Heart Parish in Muenster, and St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Carrollton.
ORDAINED: June 26, 1982 at St. Ann Parish in Burleson, where he completed his deacon internship.
GROWING UP: His Catholic mother made certain her nine children always went to Mass, usually seated in the front pew because “there’s always an opening up there.”
The oldest, Fr. Craig graduated from Notre Dame Catholic School in Wichita Falls. As a boy, he wanted to be a fireman like his father or a priest “to keep on Sister’s good side.”
FIRST CALL: As a student at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, he lost his draft deferment and faced the likely prospect of fighting in Vietnam. So he preemptively joined the Coast Guard Reserves “because their primary mission was to save lives.” His sixth year in the Reserves coincided with his first year in seminary.
GOD'S CALL: Fr. Craig attended a college retreat and asked, “‘What do you want me to do now, Lord?’ In prayer, this is what the Lord was calling me to. I have never turned back from that, just asked, ‘OK, what’s my next step?’”
BEST PARTS OF BEING A PRIEST: “Community, and being able to celebrate with them in all the different ways. Of course Sunday Eucharist and the sacraments.”
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS: Fr. Craig enjoys woodworking and builds items from furniture to pens.
GOLF MINISTRY: A regular golf game has grown into a weekly “gift that God has given us of time together” with about 25 enthusiasts. Why is it a ministry? “There’s always a lot of prayer on the course.”
MISSION WORK: “It’s everyone’s responsibility. If you are baptized, you are a missionary. Our responsibility is to learn and promote the faith, and to pray for others.
“If we grasp that message, the Church will grow and strengthen by leaps and bounds because we’ll have joy. It’s catching. You want to keep sharing with other people.”
ON DISPLAY: His diplomas from Texas Christian University and Saint Meinrad Seminary are “in a box somewhere,” but his baptismal certificate is framed and hangs in his office. “That’s the only one that counts.”