Nov 08, 2010 Erin Wisneski Uncategorized
Father Tom Servatius is a funny, likeable guy with a progressive attitude. He is also the new pastor at St. Augustine’s parish.
While his appointment to St. Augustine’s was his first encounter with Baldwinsville, he quickly grasped the character of his new congregation.
“Parishioners here know that being Catholic is more than just showing up once a week,” Servatius said. “[They have] a long standing reputation for being active and vibrant with a concern for social justice as well as growing the faith.”
After more than two years of sharing a pastor, St. Augustine’s parish welcomed Servatius as its own this August.
“Father Tom coming here has really made this parish come alive again,” said parishioner Darlene St. John. “He’s empowered a lot of people here that have been dormant.”
The parish had been linked with St. Mary’s in Baldwinsville since the Summer of 2008, which among other things meant the two parishes shared a priest. After the Syracuse Diocese reviewed the linkage, it determined St. Mary’s should have its own pastor, and instead linked St. Augustine’s with the Office of Seminarian Formation, which keeps track of those studying for the priesthood. Servatius moved in Aug. 1 and went to work right away.
For his opening homily, Servatius gave people homework. He asked parishioners to call friends and family and tell them that supper is on the table, it’s time to come home.
“As a Eucharistic faith, that has a deeply significant sign,” he said. “We’re a people of word, but also of sacrament. Gather at the table, gather for prayer – the supper is the Eucharist. We’re all still invited to come to that table.”
Originally from Utica, Servatius is a graduate of LeMoyne College, Syracuse University and St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore, Md. After spending nine years in the business world, followed by several years dedicated to social work, Servatius entered the seminary at age 37. While his fellow seminarians jokingly called him “grandpa” because of his age, Servatius had considered priesthood most of his life.
“I’ve been kicking the idea around since I was nine,” he said, adding he grew up in a very Catholic family.
Prior to coming to St. Augustine’s, Servatius was the pastor at St. Bernard’s in Waterville.
While Servatius said he wants to learn more about the parish before making any significant changes, he will add an 8 a.m. Sunday Mass beginning Nov. 28.
“There was a good round of applause when I announced it at mass,” he said.
His short-term goals include getting to know the parish, which includes just over 700 families. “[I want to] get a sense of this is where we’ve been, this is where we are and where do we want to go?”
In the long run, Servatius hopes to bring the parish a deeper sense of hope, a deeper sense of God’s love for them and a deeper sense that through God’s love, all are called to love.
“I’m not planting the seed, I’m nurturing it,” he said.
In addition to the new 8 a.m. Sunday mass, St. Augustine’s also offers a 10:15 a.m. Sunday mass as well as a 10 a.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mass, and a 7 p.m. evening mass Wednesdays during Advent.