Thank you to Fr. Tom for providing us with this bio:
Fr. Tom Wantland was born in Kokomo, Indiana, on August 29, 1940, the only son of Ivan and Irene Wantland (deceased). He has six sisters, all younger than him, all born within eight years: Rita, Carol, Janet, Mary Lou, Bette Jo, and Kathleen. Father Tom was raised on a farm in Indiana and left for the seminary high school with the Priests of the Sacred Heart.
After being in temporary vows for three years, it became apparent that his life was to take a different turn. In a novena to Fr. Solanus Casey, OFM.Cap., who is Venerable now in the Cause for Canonization, the answer came through a friend in Detroit on the ninth day of the novena to contact Bishop Thomas Noa of Marquette, who was described as a “very kind man.”
The journey to the priesthood continued as college was completed with a degree in philosophy and a minor in history at Resurrection College in Kitchener, Ontario, which is connected with the University of Waterloo. Post-graduate work was continued in theology at St. John Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan, as a seminarian for the Diocese of Marquette, with the final result of a M.Div. granted in theology after four years of post-graduate study.
Assignments following ordination on June, 3 1967 included Associate at St. Joseph-St. Patrick (now Church of the Resurrection) in Hancock, as well as being an associate at American Martyr’s in Kingsford, MI, and a five-year stay at St. Sebastian Church in Bessemer, Michigan, as an Associate Pastor.
Fr. Tom was assigned as pastor of St. Albert the Great University Parish in July of 1974, where he was to serve for ten years until July of 1984. These were very exciting years as every effort was made to grow young men and women into leaders for the Church and for the business world.
Many of the outreach ministries were developed at the parish level during these years and a new emphasis was put on spirituality in developing a retreat program, called “Spiritual Renewal,” for weekends two or three times a year. Sister Michael White was on the staff during this development of retreats and she was a great support and help in reaching out to the young men and women from a woman’s viewpoint. Sister Michael White was a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet from St. Louis, Missouri.
After the fast pace of St. Albert the Great for ten years, Fr. Tom moved to become the pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Sault St. Marie, Michigan, for one year until his departure for ministry in Florida in 1986, where he has been in ministry ever since.
In Florida Fr. Tom was involved in developing the Cursillo in two parishes in the Archdiocese of Miami (a short course in Christianity), Adult Religious Education, and in parish work at St. Charles Borromeo in Port Charlotte, Florida from 1988 until March of 2005. At that time Father was invited to move to a mega-church of some 10,000 people at St. Andrew Parish in Cape Coral, Florida, to serve with five other priests.
At St. Andrew Parish Fr. Tom was to develop a program to prepare Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, the training of Lectors, and care for the R.C.I.A. process for people entering the Church. With bread and cup at all Masses, this meant the need for some ninety-six Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist each weekend.
In August of 2009 Fr. Tom left full-time parish ministry to begin work as an outreach priest who travels from parish-to-parish representing Cross Catholic Outreach on behalf of the poorest of the poor to speak on behalf of those in the third world countries who need our help. At this time Fr. Tom continues in this ministry part-time. Last year he was out-of-state on assignments for some twenty-nine weekends.
When at home in the Venice Diocese, Fr. Tom helps out in various parishes as needed an as time permits. Meanwhile, he continues to be enthusiastic and enjoying the ministry for Cross Catholic Outreach. You can find more information at www.crosscatholic.org.
The point of all this is that God’s plan for furthering the reign of God and building up the body of Christ can have many twists and turns. There is not retirement from priestly work. You just have to push along with a little more “umph,” with God’s help of course!
To contact Fr. Wantland:
941-493-9045 or email@example.com