It is with a heavy heart that I mark the passing of Monsignor Thomas W. Weinzapfel, the longest serving diocesan priest of the Diocese of Dallas.
Monsignor Weinzapfel died January 1 of injuries suffered in a fall on Christmas Day. Two days earlier, on Dec. 23, I had the privilege of joining hundreds of his friends, colleagues and former parishioners at a Mass and reception at St. Pius X Catholic Church to celebrate the 70th anniversary of his ordination. Father Tom, as he was affectionately called, served as pastor of St. Pius for more than 40 years before his retirement in December 1996.
During those years he forged a vibrant parish from the cotton patches of Far East Dallas that spawned numerous daughter parishes and fostered many vocations to the priesthood, the diaconate and religious life.
A native son of our diocese, Monsignor was born in Scotland, Texas on August 1, 1921, but grew up in Muenster where his family moved when he was a small child. Mentored and encouraged by Father (later Bishop) Augustine Danglmayr, and supported by his family, he entered St. John Seminary in San Antonio in 1939 and was ordained Dec. 23, 1945 by Bishop Joseph Patrick Lynch.
After pastoral assignments in Texarkana, Dallas and Valley View, Monsignor Weinzapfel was largely responsible for the successful revival of the Texas Catholic newspaper in 1954, visiting every parish in the diocese to win support of the publication.
While we mourn the loss of this good and faithful servant, we rejoice in a lifetime of service and love that touched and changed the lives of thousands. We will celebrate Monsignor’s life and priestly ministry once again at his funeral Mass Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. At St. Pius X Catholic Church in Dallas.
Please join me in prayers of thanksgiving for Monsignor Weinzapfel and prayers of comfort for his family and all those who loved this great priest.
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