March 6, 2024 at 9:24 a.m.

A good priest

In this day, when a cloud of mistrust hangs over the clergy, it’s a good thing to highlight the life of Father Thomas Madden.
Father Thomas Morrette
Father Thomas Morrette

By Father Thomas Morrette | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Recently, I was able to visit a priest-classmate of mine who was dying of an autoimmune disease which he had battled for several years. He was in the hospital in Greenwich, Conn., and I was so grateful to spend some time with him during those last hours. Father died a few hours after I left him, with his great, big, loving Irish family around him.

Father Tom Madden was the pastor of St. Peter’s-St. Mary’s Church in Haverstraw, N.Y., about two and a half hours south of us. He was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York and was pastor of St. Peter’s-St. Mary’s for many years. He was beloved by the people there. His parish predominantly serves a Hispanic community, which is where he always wanted to be. (In the seminary, Father took extra courses to learn Spanish because he responded to the appeal of the Archdiocese at the time to reach out and serve the growing population of Hispanics in the New York City area.)

Every August, without fail, Father Tom and I spent several days together and we rarely missed this opportunity to catch up with each other during those times (the exception being during COVID). We caught up on how his family was doing and how mine were getting along. Those times were great opportunities to rekindle our friendship and enjoy each other’s company again. I loved showing him around the sights in the Capital District and around our beautiful upstate area. For the last two summers, Father Tom stayed in the rectory here at OLV when he came to visit, and he concelebrated daily Mass with me during those times. He loved our rectory and enjoyed our guest room and grounds. He was an avid reader and loved sitting in our living room reading for hours on end. He also very much enjoyed meeting parishioners here during his visits. Last year, before he left to return to Haverstraw, he turned to me and said: “Tom, you’re very lucky to be in two such wonderful places.”

In this day, when a cloud of mistrust hangs over the clergy, it’s a good thing to highlight the life of a good and faithful priest who ministered quietly but so effectively. Tom was a bright but quiet man, full of light, common sense and love. He was prayerful, faithful, steady, and always ready to help those who came his way, especially the marginalized. I don’t ever remember him getting into an argument with anyone or saying a negative thing about anyone he met or knew. His interest wasn’t to win debates or malign. His only interest was to support those who came into his life and to help carry their burdens.

This week, keep my friend, Father Tom Madden, in your prayers, won’t you? He may not need them, and if he doesn’t, our prayers will be a sign of our respect and gratitude for a job well done. And, as we so often do, let’s continue to pray that more good men like Tom will find their way to priestly ministry — and live it as effectively as he did.

Father Morrette is pastor at The Catholic Community of Our Lady of Victory in Troy, Our Lady of the Snow Mission in Grafton and Christ Sun of Justice Parish in Troy.


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