To Continue Dying

When I was a student at Marquette University High School some 40 plus years ago, I first met Fr. Dick Tomasek. He was a Jesuit scholastic or seminarian at the time and I remember him playing guitar on one of the retreats we had. Since then he has moved into other ministries including several years as the spiritual director for seminarians at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio and at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Fr. Tomasek is deeply devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a supporter of the Apostleship of Prayer. He shared this spirituality with the future priests that he helped to form. Last summer he returned to the States and during his annual physical check-up was diagnosed with cancer. He had a tumor on his heart and surgery was performed. Since radiation and chemotherapy for cancer in that area were not recommended, he began a dietary and exercise regimen to fend off any recurrence. He went to work at St. Mark's Catholic Church in Tucson, Arizona.

The cancer has come back with a tumor appearing behind his eye. Surgery was performed and radiation and chemotherapy were recommended. Fr. Tomasek will be returning to the Milwaukee area to begin this next phase of his life.

Here is part of a letter that he wrote to parishioners at St. Mark's:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am immensely grateful for the many Masses, communions and prayers for my recovery. May this true treasury, like an overflowing granary, overflow to your hearts with grace as well! The Lord has rather abruptly invited me to continue dying. Of course, sharing a bit of His Passion is my greatest joy and stirs up my desire for God and folks of heaven, toward which we all journey. All it is a definitive "Yes, FIAT, let your will be done" and eternal life in Jesus gloriously begins! I will be happy to offer my own "prayers, works, joys and sufferings" (from the Morning Offering) for your own immense needs and graces.

Fr. Tomasek is an example of the mystery of "offer it up." Every day is a gift. Every moment can be made a prayer when it is offered to God for particular intentions. Our lives are practice for the final offering that we will make with our last breath.