Communications at 6363 9th Avenue North, Saint Petersburg, FL 33710 US - Tributes and Testimonies
|Tributes and Testimonies|
Our thanks to Jeff Signorini (JSGrafx) who supplied us with wonderful personal photos of the life of Bishop Larkin, Diocesan Publications, JS Palluch, and Ed Foster who contributed the following Memorial to Bishop Larkin (please click here to view).
Good day (11/6/06) from St Augustine. Father Terry Morgan here, with a reminder that Bishop Larkin's death deeply touched more than southwest Florida.
I wrote this little reflection for my parishioners ("Pastor'sLetter" for our November 12 bulletin) at St. Anastasia parish, in St. Augustine (at the beach).
"How do you make small-talk with a Pope? The dozen or so times that I met Pope John Paul II, as director of a group of American priests taking a one-semester educational sabbatical in Rome (1993-1998), I invariably ended up standing next to the Holy Father for a few moments during our brief visit after morning Mass. Of course, he would joke about the sabbatical program: "Do you give them tests, Father Morgan? Well, make them harder tests!"
And he would, as often as not, have a more personal parting shot about our mutual friend, Tom Larkin. Young Father Karol Wojtyla had first known young Father Tom Larkin as a graduate student in Rome in the late 1940s: as they walked to school together, the future pastor taught the future pope English. Ten years later, the still-young Father Tom gave little Terry Morgan– among thousands of other kids – his first communion. He also preached at my first Mass, and was a wise "priest-coach" and dear friend for decades.
Pope John Paul’s parting shot to me was always the same: "Give my greetings to Bishop Thomas Larkin. And tell Tom I am still following his advice: every day I smile and say my prayers!" That was the self-same advice Bishop Larkin had given me on the day of my ordination, and every time that we parted from our many visits. And it turns out that that was the Tom Larkin "secret," doled out discretely to (as it turns out) not just dozens, but in fact thousands of priests over the years.
And a little bit of laughter didn’t hurt either. While Father Larkin, then Bishop Larkin, was one of the holiest men that any person– in the pews or on the altar – ever met, it was a rare sermon, or even a brief visit, in which he didn’t have you laughing. It was at priest gatherings that he was at his best, telling stories of The Giants and the of Good Old Days and, always with love, of the very human men who have worn the cloth over the years.
Whenever I would be getting a little too seriously wound up about my own pastoral work, my parents would say, "You need a dose of Bishop Larkin," and I would show up on his doorstep in Clearwater for a meal and some laughs and some renewed perspective. Thursdays were especially great dinners -- he would fill the table with hard-working priests, holy priests with mighty stories that had you crying and laughing at the same time.
On my last visit to Clearwater, what turned out to be my farewell visit to my old friend and pastor, Bishop Larkin spoke briefly about how close he felt he was to his return to the Lord. "Give me your blessing, kiddo," he said. "I’m going to need all the Gate Passes I can get hold of." I replied, "You better put your Morgan Pass on the bottom on the pile, or the might send you to ‘the other place,’ my friend. But don’t worry: I bet your buddy Wojtyla is going to get his hand in this whole thing."
And indeed his old buddy Pope John Paul accompanied Tom for his final journey. Bishop Thomas Larkin died on November 4, the very feast of St. Charles Borromeo, Karol (Charles) Wojtyla’s patron saint. No doubt when Karol and Tom, these two great friends, were reunited they said their prayers… and smiled.
Father D. Terrence Morgan, pastor
St. Anastasia Catholic Church
5205 A1A South
Saint Augustine, FL 32080
"The Church in
Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly, O.P.
Deacon Isaac's tribute to Bishop Larkin. Love, Helen
Deacon Isaac's tribute to Bishop Larkin. Love, Helen
My family met Father Larkin at Christ the King when he first came there. My parents were very good friends with him and his sister. I was named after him and have looked up to him all of my life. He will be missed by all who knew him.
Thomas William Grossholz
Please tell his sister for me how sorry I am.
I am a reporter. I've worked two decades within the Diocese of St. Petersburg, covering a number of high points and some low times, but always, always he was honest, kind and funny. A "man of God" is exactly how I would describe him. I sometimes, even though not Catholic, felt he was my father, too. He shall be missed by us all.
I never would have said that a Bishop was a family man. But Bishop Larkin was. I've been a member of St. Cecelia's for years and it will be too quiet without him there.
I never knew Bishop Larkin nor his sister, Clarice. At his Funeral Mass today, I realized I missed something unique, something special. She is so beautiful. So regal. I passed by Bishop Larkin to pray before the Mass, And then I saw her, and I thought "THAT is how he must have looked!" Clarice, thank you for representing your brother so well today. Bless you.