Bishop Clarence G. Issenman ordains Fr. Ralph Thomas
The gathering will be sort of a dress rehearsal for two grand upcoming celebrations. First, on May 20 next year the pastor will be celebrating his milestone 75th birthday. And then on May 22, 2015 he will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination.
Fr. Thomas was ordained in St. John Cathedral on May 22, 1965 by Bishop Clarence G. Issenmann in a class of 22.
Ralph William Thomas was born May 20, 1938 to Andrew L. and Mildred (Pertz) Thomas at their home in Maple Hieghts. He was the middle child of five in the famly who all still live in the Cleveland area. Eleanor (John) Avalon lives in Mentor, Robert (Catherine) Thomas in South Euclid, Andrew (Sandra) Thomas in Westlake and Marilyn (Dennis) Jacobs in Maple Heights.
Fr. Thomas attended St. Wenceslas School in Maple Heights and was graduated in 1956 from Cathedral Latin High School in Cleveland. He attended St. Meinrad Seminary in St,. Meinrad, IN, in 1956-59, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wickliffe in 1959-1961 and St. Mary Seminary in Cleveland in 1961-65.
His first asignment was as an associate (parochial vicar) of St. Vincent de Paul School in Cleveland. He attended the Univeristy of Dayton in 1969 to study theology and sociology. He was an associate at St. Charles Parish in Kettering in 1971-72 and taught religion at Alter High School in Ketering. He then served at St. Henry Parish in West Carrollton in 1972-75.
He became involved in social work in 1975-82 with the Development Disabilities agencies in Hamilton County and for the State of Ohio during the Gilligan administration.
Fr. Thomas was then assigned as associate at Good Shepherd Parish in Cincinnnai in 1982-85. He was chaplain at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton from 1985 to 1988.
He did graduate studies in pastoral counseling at Loyola College in Baltimore in 1988-89. He was assiged as an associate at St. Mary of the Falls in Olmsted Falls in July 1996 and at St. Francis of Assisi in December, 1996.
He was assigned as a associate at St. Paul on June 12, 2002 and was named administrator pro-tem on October 4, 2004, He was installed as pastor on June 7, 2005.
[Reprinted from Saint Paul TODAY]