Doyle, Father Thomas Leo, S.S.

2007, December 24

Date of Birth: January 31, 1926

On Christmas Eve, 2007, Thomas Leo Doyle entered into eternal life at Baptist Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee due to complications after surgery for a broken hip. His health and vigor had been in decline for several years prior to the surgery.

Tom was born on January 31, 1926 in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Louis and Esther (Maloney) Doyle. His elementary and high school education was at St. Agnes, and his college at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit. For his theologate, Tom attended St. Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio and St. John’s Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan.

Tom was ordained a priest on June 2, 1951 for the Archdiocese of Detroit. After four years as associate pastor at St. James Parish in Ferndale, Michigan, Tom was released by his archbishop to the Society of St. Sulpice. His first assignment from 1955-1956 was at St. Joseph’s College Seminary, Mountain View, California. In 1957 he completed his Solitude and became a member of the Society.

Tom earned his S.T.B. at St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore in 1957 and in 1958 earned his S.T.L. from Angelicum University in Rome. He was assigned to the faculty of St. John’s Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan (1958-1971), during which time he received his M.A.L.S. in library science from University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1964 and an M.A. in theology from Marquette University in 1965.

In 1972 Tom returned to St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore to teach systematic theology until 1978. He was then assigned to the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, where he worked in the Office of Vocations & Ministries administering the deacon program. After a 1984-1989 assignment with the Diocese of Santa Rosa, California, Tom became director of the Kino Institute in Phoenix, Arizona until 1991. The Kino Institute is the diocesan center for theological studies and pastoral ministry formation.

When Tom retired in 1992, he bought a condo in Brentwood, Tennessee and remained active in local parishes, giving talks and celebrating liturgy. He escorted tours to Europe and liked to cook for his friends. He also enjoyed inviting people into his home for dinner and shared his fine choice of wines. He traveled and visited the many friends he made all over the country at the various places he had served as a priest. His library was filled with the latest books in theology and scripture. One would think that he was still teaching. He never stopped learning and sharing his insights with others.

Tom’s funeral Mass was celebrated at Holy Family Church in Brentwood on January 4, 2008. Fr. Edward T. Alberts, the pastor and a former student of Tom’s at St. Mary’s Seminary, presided. Fr. Matt Rowgh, another former student from St. Mary’s, who is the pastor of St. Agnes Church in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, preached. Tom’s long-time friend, Msgr. Gerald Flanigan, from the Archdiocese of Detroit, shared some unique insights into Tom. Mr. Dennis Grimaud, a parishioner at Holy Family, talked about how important Tom was to him and to so many others. Very Rev. Ronald D. Witherup, Sulpician Provincial, thanked the many people who had befriended Tom and watched over him after his retirement. About thirty priests and deacons and several hundred people from the Nashville Diocese came to the Mass. Because Tom was also a very special person to the people at St. Agnes in Shepherdstown, Fr. Matt Rowgh also had a memorial Mass for Tom at his parish.

Tom requested that he be cremated, and his remains placed in a garden next to the devotional chapel at Holy Family Church in Brentwood. May he rest in peace.

Rev. Edward T. Alberts