1905 – 1971 (March 26)
Thomas Joseph Rodgers, son of Thomas J. Rodgers, Sr., and Bridget Daley, was born on December 6, 1905, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he was baptized in the Church of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine. He received his early education in Saint Nicholas School, and at thirteen years of age, became a postulant at Villanova Prep, Villanova, Pa. He continued on at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, and entered the novitiate on August 15, 1925, professed first vows on August 16, 1926 and made solemn profession on August 16, 1929. He continued his studies at Villanova College, Villanova, Pa., where he received an A.B. degree in June, 1930. Thomas then studied theology at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., and was ordained to the priesthood on June 13, 1933.
Father Rodgers received his first assignment to the parish of Saint Mary, Lawrence, Ma., where he resided while preaching on the Augustinian Mission Band. For eighteen years he was recognized as a charismatic preacher of missions and retreats. Later, during those years on the Mission Band, he was alternately a member of the communities of Saint Rita Philadelphia, and Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova.
Following his preaching ministry Father Rodgers assisted at the New York parishes of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, Jamaica, and Saint Paul, Mechanicville. In the summer of 1948, he taught at El Christo, Havana, Cuba. In 1952, he returned to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Jamaica, until for health reasons he was assigned to Saint Thomas of Villanova Monastery. In 1963, he was appointed assistant at Saint John's Parish, Schaghticoke, N.Y., followed by two other New York assignments: Saint James, Carthage, and Our Lady of Good Counsel, Staten Island. In January, 1971, due to ill-health, Father Rodgers retired to Saint Thomas Monastery, where he died on March 26, 1971 at the age of 65.
Father Robert E. Regan, O.S.A., homilist at Father Rodgers' Mass of the Resurrection, eulogized him with these words. "He shared in other apostolates, including that of parochial work; but his special talent and special love was in the preaching ministry. He had many gifts of nature and grace in this area of life: a commanding presence, a strong clear voice, a clear style, great compassion, and a good sense of humor."
His Funeral Mass was celebrated in the chapel of Saint Mary's Hall, Villanova, Pa., followed by interment in the Augustinian plot at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.