January 3, 2018 // Diocese

Diocese mourns passing of Father Thomas Lombardi

Father Thomas Lombardi

FORT WAYNE — Father Thomas Lombardi, a retired priest of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, died Dec. 28 after a two-month battle with cancer.

Ordained in 1975, Father Lombardi had served at St. Mary Parish, Huntington, while also assigned as assistant diocesan director of religious education and chaplain and faculty of Huntington Catholic High School. Later he was appointed principal of Huntington Catholic High School.

After a year at St. Joseph Parish, Mishawaka, and a time of study in Europe, he was appointed pastor of St. Louis, Besancon, New Haven, in 1986. He also served as pastor of St. Joseph Church, Garrett, and St. Joseph – Hessen Cassel. He was a past chaplain of the Fort Wayne Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Father “Thom,” as he was known, was noted for his sense of humor and hospitality. He was a talented cook, and often exchanged culinary duties at dinners with his friend, Father Tim Wrozek, whom he had met for the first time when both were assigned to parishes in the South Bend-Mishawaka area. The two stayed in touch.

“He loved to eat! We’d have lunches out, and dinners at least once every couple of weeks” at which Father Lombardi would sometimes cook “really great” Italian dishes, Father Wrozek said. “We just found a lot of support in each other.”

A Cocker Spaniel breeder and rescuer for many years, Father Lombardi was often found in the company of a dog. According to Father Wrozek, he also had a strong interest in ancient manuscripts and prayers proper to the saints, and would look all over the world for such manuscripts. His favorite saint was St. Thomas Becket, whose feast day is Dec. 29 — the day following Father Lombardi’s passing.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated for Father Lombardi on Tuesday, Jan. 2, at 10:30 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Fort Wayne. Burial was in Highland Park Cemetery, Fort Wayne.

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