Reverend Father Thomas G. Schaefer of Pittsburgh, Pa. unexpectedly fell asleep in the Lord on July 3, 2021 while vacationing in California. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pa. on July 7, 1951, the only child of the late Gerard and Josephine (Sobczak) Schaefer. Father Tom was the beloved cousin of the Golembiewski, Janosko, Sobczak, Zebracki, and Schaefer Families. He was also a caring and special friend to many.
His early education was at St Vincent De Paul elementary school and St. Francis De Sales High School in McKees Rocks, Pa. He attended St. Mary Seminary University in Baltimore where he received a BA in Language and Literature in 1974. After this, he spent 9 years in the Peace Corps in Central Africa, and he also attended the Major Seminary in Emile Biayenda, Congo in 1981 and 1982.
He received his first Masters Degree in teaching French and English as a second language at the School of International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont in 1981.
Father Thomas entered the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers (Spiritans) in 1982. On July 24 of that year, he was ordained a priest in the chapel of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
With further graduate studies at Duquesne, Father Thomas earned a Masters degree in Liberal Studies in 1987; a Masters Degree in Formative Spirituality in 1989; and a Doctorate (PhD) in the Science of Human Formation in 1997.
During 1983 and 1984, his responsibilities at Duquesne University included Campus Ministry, Vocations Office, and Director of the Spiritan Pre-Novitiate Program. From 1991 through 2001 he served as Dean in the Office of Domestic Admissions and International Affairs.
During this time Father Thomas was also named Assistant Priest at St. Anthony Church and Pastor of St. Stanislaus Church in the Strip District of Pittsburgh.
Father Thomas left the Spiritan Fathers on March 1, 2001, and was received a priest of the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. His pastorates included the parishes of Nativity of the Mother of God, Greenfield and St. Mary, Ambridge. Both St. John the Baptist and St. John Chrysostom in Pittsburgh were his parishes until his death. He also served on several committees and boards of Saints Cyril and Methodius Seminary,
In 2002, Father Thomas began a faithful and dedicated time of ministry to La Roche University in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. Among other contributions to programs of global interest and language, his offices included Associate Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Dean of Domestic Admissions and International Affairs and Director of External Relations, Pacem in Terris Institute.
Presently he was contributing in various board member capacities to Sage Scholars, Philadelphia; Pittsburgh Regional Science Initiative; Holy Family Institute; Sister Thea Bowman Foundation; and Hobson’s Digital Media Inc.
A scholar and academician, Father Thomas held many professional memberships, and was the author of various publications. He loved people, music, learning, and everything international – especially African. He deeply appreciated the beauty of music and the arts. He was proficient in French, Spanish, Sango and Latin languages; had a working knowledge of Polish; and was currently studying Arabic and Hebrew.
Friends will be received at the Chapel of the Sisters of Divine Providence, 9000 Babcock Boulevard, Allison Park, Pa. 15101 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. A Roman Catholic Mass will then be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. Afterward, from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m., there will be a viewing at St. John Chrysostom Church, 506 Saline Street, Pittsburgh PA 15207. There will be a viewing the next day at the church from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. with the funeral service for a priest at 7:00 that evening.
The funeral Divine Liturgy will be celebrated by Metropolitan Archbishop William C. Skurla at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, July 16 at the Cathedral of St. John, 210 Greentree Road, Munhall PA 15120. Interment will follow at St. Mary Cemetery, McKees Rocks, Pa.
The family encourages donations to Little Sisters of the Poor, 1028 Benton Avenue, Pittsburgh 15212 or to St. John Chrysostom Church. Arrangements entrusted to the Edward P. Kanai Funeral Home, 500 Greenfield Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15207.
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