RIP Father Thomas King, 1929-2009

This evening, Father Thomas King, S.J. passed away at 80. According to Voice photographer Helen Burton (COL `11), he is rumored to have died of a heart attack. Representatives from the Office of Communications could not be reached at the time of this post.

Fitz Lufkin (COL `11), the vice president of College Democrats, confirmed that he died. Lufkin was reached while he was waiting for a memorial Mass to begin for Fr. King [Edit] . The memorial Mass is now in progress at Dahlgren Chapel; it began at 11:15, the same Mass that Father King said daily at Georgetown for forty years.

Father King was well known on campus for holding late night Masses. Earlier this year, he reflected on 40 years of the 11:15 Mass in the Voice:

I have been teaching and preaching here these many years. I like that double arrangement, for I think our academic life and our faith life need each other to be complete. This is who I am, and I gladly share this in both chapel and classroom. Faith and reason is the unity John Carroll had in mind in founding our University.

I look back on 40 years of teaching and preaching and know they have been happy years. I truly have been blessed. I love the University and the two-fold work it has enabled me to do.

Blog editor Juliana Brint is currently attending the memorial Mass and will report on it shortly after she returns.Vox will keep you posted as we learn more.

Update (2:35 p.m. Wednesday): Georgetown’s Director of Media Relations Andy Pino just confirmed that Father King passed away yesterday at around 5:30 p.m. due to a heart attack.

A wake will be held at Wolfington Hall on Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The funeral will be held at Dahlgren Chapel at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.

You can read the full text of the University Broadcast email that will be sent out later today after the jump.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:The Jesuit community at Georgetown mourns the sudden death of Fr. Thomas King, S.J., who died of a heart attack in his room yesterday afternoon around 5:30 PM. A native of Pittsburgh, he is survived by his brother, Fr. William King, also of the Jesuit community here at Georgetown, and by his sisters, Mrs. Martha Cox of Pittsburgh, PA and Mrs. Catherine Marie Tovey of Portland, OR.
Fr. King taught theology at Georgetown for over forty years and published widely on theological and spiritual topics. He was deeply interested in the thought of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the famous Jesuit paleontologist, and in the connections between religion and science. He was famous on campus for the impact of his “Problem of God” class and for his remarkable, late evening liturgies.

The funeral will be held at Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart on the Georgetown campus at 9:00 AM on Saturday, June 27. A wake will be held at Wolfington Hall, the Jesuit residence, from 3:00 to 5:00 PM and from 7:00 to 9:00 PM on Friday, June 26. In September, with the return of students and faculty a campus-wide memorial Mass will be celebrated for Fr. King.

John Langan, S.J.

48 Comments on “RIP Father Thomas King, 1929-2009

  1. Uhh.. what is the VP of Dems doing being the official statement-maker, even in lieu of JGB?!

  2. Pingback: Vox Populi » Father King remembered at 11:15 Mass; funeral to be held Saturday

  3. This is a great loss to the Georgetown and Jesuit communities, and one that we will mourn for a long time. RIP Fr. King.

  4. How dare you use a Democrat as a spokesperson for dear Father King. The Democrats stand for the opposite of everything that Father King was for, such as the sanctity of life. Father King voted for John McCain. I know because we talked about it.

  5. Please remove this blatant advertisement for the College Dems and stop politicizing the death of a great and humble man, mentor, and Hoya. I am so disgusted with The Voice right now!

    Honestly, what credentials does the President of the College Dems have to “confirm” any rumors. Even if you heard it from him, it’s still a rumor!!! How about going to the Jesuit Residence and asking like we did.

    This article is a slap in the face to Father King and should be removed or edited immediately. Even if you disagree with our reaction, perception is reality and it appears to amount to politicization of his death and is hurtful to many mourning his loss.

    However, I do not believe The Voice will do the right thing and remove this; after all, as Rahm Emmanuel said – “You can never let a good tragedy go to waste,” right????

  6. Hey everyone,

    Division at a time like this is absolutely pointless. Fr. King founded University Faculty for Life, and was heavily involved in the pro-life movement; consequently, he found President Obama’s stance on life issues absolutely abhorrent. That being said, though, do not even begin to think for a second that Fr. King would want his followers arguing with one another in a battle of the egos, fighting over who was closer to Fr. King.

    To bicker in such a manner is to do a great disservice to the magnificent man who so profoundly affected our beloved school.

    Dave Gregory
    (Fr. King’s daily Mass server from Fall 2007 thru Spring 2009)

  7. David Gregory,

    I interpret your comments to mean you’re standing with us in the call for the Georgetown Voice to either remove this blog post or remove Fitz Lufkin’s title?

    Even if they found out the information from Fitz, he didn’t have the credentials to confirm anything and if he did, his position in a political organization is irrelevant and should not have been printed.

    This isn’t a battle of egos as you suggest and we’re not arguing over who was closer to him – we are only asking for a major campus publication to show respect for Father King by taking the politics out of his unfortunate death.

  8. Fitz Lufkin was the first person we were able to get in touch with who could confirm Fr. King’s death late last night. We identified him as the vice president of the College Dems because it is our custom to give relevant information about sources that will help our readers identify them, the same way we way we would have identified the GUSA president or the president of the College Republicans if we had heard the sad news from them. The fact that Lufkin is a Democrat is purely coincidental, and any political overtones are unintentional.

    Juliana Brint
    Blog Editor

    Edit: I forgot to mention that we reached Fitz while he was on his way to the memorial Mass, which is what gave his confirmation its credibility.

  9. Juliana – How is the fact that Fitz Lufkin is the President of the College Dems relevant information?

    Also, what qualifications does Fitz Lufkin have to “confirm” anything. If you heard it from him, it’s still a rumor.

    Does the Blog rely on unsubstantiated claims from students or do they do research. It took me five minutes to walk to the Jes Res to confirm the sad news.

    This post is hurtful to our community. If there were no political overtones and this was unintentional, please edit or delete it. It is making the mourning process harder for us and for many.

  10. Juliana –

    This is an inconsistent post also. The article says you were attending the memorial Mass, but that Fitz Lufkin confirmed it is “in progress.”

    So if you were attending while it was in progress, then did you know about it before Fitz Lufkin told you?

  11. Fr. King Died. Let’s put this bull shit aside and reflect on the loss of a Georgetown institution. It’s just a blog entry.

  12. Are you suggesting that promoting Fitz Lufkin’s title is more important than being sensitive to students who are in tears over this? If the title isn’t that relevant and is hurtful to many who are mourning, why not do the sensitive thing and remove it?

    Because it is about politics and you know it!

    This paper will do anything you can to slap people of faith in the face.

  13. This isn’t a time for Politics:

    You’ve got one thing right. This is not a time for politics. Sure, we may all agree that the use of a College Democrats leader as a reference may not be as credible as one from university administration, but given the short time frame in which this blog post was likely launched and the completely non-partisan information given by Lufkin, I think it should be overlooked.

    I, for one, applaud the Voice’s prompt attention to the community’s loss. And I agree with David Gregory in saying that to make this man’s death just another spark in the ongoing debate over pro-choice and pro-life would be to dangerously minimize Father King’s immense and inspiring spiritual and academic presence.

  14. Fr, King was truly a “man for others.” What an outstanding good, kind role model for GU students. He was also an accomplished scholar as his many books demonstrate. What a shame that GU’s administration, in its rush to rid GU of its Catholic roots and pander to the Hollywood L.A. elite (i.e., hiring of extreme pro abortion faculty in the Kennedy School of Ethics) has turned its back on everything that Fr. King stood for.

  15. Let us honor the life of a very wise and gracious man by swallowing our own conflicts and disagreements for a moment, giving one another the benefit of the doubt, and exhibiting graciousness on our own parts. Feelings have clearly been hurt, but let us assume, just for now at least, that this was not intentional. Father King was a wonderful and inspiring man, and *this* is what we should be remembering and focusing on, now and always.

  16. Usually, when someone does something unintentionally that hurts people, they take steps to correct it.
    If the Voice truly didn’t mean anything by it and wants to join in remembering his Saintly life, then they will edit the post. That’s what is causing the division.

  17. This entire thread of comments are centered around use of a political term, not on the passing of a life that led and taught so many who have walked through Healy Gates and into Dahlgren Chapel. I don’t find it respectful to mark the passing of a great individual with such a focus on political partisanship. Republican or Democrat, Hoyas of all stripes will miss this wise individual and the 11:15 Mass tradition he carried on for years.

  18. I agree with hoyasaxa223 – the voice can end this by deleting Lufkin’s title now. This is of the paper’s creation. We can’t blame the victims.

    As for me, I remember fondly taking Father King’s problem of God course. He is a true treasure – taught me so much over the years. His 11:15 mass was the perfect peaceful way to end many days full of life’s distraction. Father King the teacher demonstrated the great complementary relationship between faith and reason. May God bless his soul eternally!

  19. I first met Fr. King 22 years ago as freshman in his Problem of God class. I started Georgetown as a chemistry major, and as a direct result of Fr. King, quickly abandoned that path and became a philosophy major. I also later took his Teilhard class.

    I am quite sure that Fr. King wouldn’t remember my name and probably couldn’t pick me out of a line-up, but he had a profound impact on my life. To this day, I think of him often and he epitomizes everything that I loved about my Georgetown education. He was one of the most intelligent men I’ve ever met, yet his intelligence was almost ancillary to what made him so special. He lived and embodied a faith and mysticism that I still admire (and envy).

    Georgetown can never replace someone of his unique stature, but I hope the values he embodied live on.

  20. If they had heard from Calen Angert, it would’ve noted he was GUSA President. If they heard from Julie-Green Bataille, they would’ve said Georgetown University Spokeswoman. It’s standard news reportage and not at all reflective of any partisan slant.

    Fitz had information from a credible source in the JesRes, I believe and, in the absence of anyone else ‘more’ official to contact at the hour and in the public’s interest to get this out ASAP, it’s absolutely fine to credit this to him.

    The article also credits another student as ‘Voice photographer,’ which seems to have not elicited any comment.

    It is not journalistic practice to delete or edit information in posts unless incorrect, and even then the lines are merely crossed out or an update added.

    Please, everyone, stop trying to score political points. David Gregory and others have pointed out that it is his life we should be celebrating, not a pro-choice/pro-life debate.

    Fr. King was Georgetown’s man of the century and we all mourn his loss. The Voice did the Georgetown community a service by getting this out as quickly as possible given the late hour.

  21. The Hoya doesn’t find the need to report every irrelevant title or activity of every person they seek a comment from. Most of the time (Col ’07) suffices.

    The idea that Fitz was the only person that could have confirmed the story is ludicrous. It was literally a five minute walk to Wolfington Hall.

    Regardless of how trivial you think it might be, people are hurt here. Sometimes, instead of being “right” and argumentative, the best thing to do is respect what’s important to other people (especially when it doesn’t make that big of a difference to you).

    The only people trying to score political points are the people who continue to stand by this hurtful article.

  22. Fr. King’s 1115 Mass was incredibly important to me as an undergraduate, even though I am not Catholic (or even a Christian). He was a great man, and a great teacher. I will miss being able to go to his Sunday night Mass, and now I wish I had gone more often.

    I remember so vividly the incredible sense of community I felt the first time I walked into Dahlgren for late night Mass. In that moment I experienced religion in a way I never had before; I saw its ability to bring many people together, and I realized I had things in common with people I had never seen outside of a single context. A formerly lapsed Jew with secular parents, I can honestly say I learned more about the meaning of religion in that one moment than I had in my entire life leading up to that point, although I didn’t realize it at the time. I treasured Fr. King’s ability to bring together in faith a community that was so important to me, and the way it always seemed he knew exactly what his audience needed to hear. I have never heard more relevant or more beautiful homilies. I knew he was different: in one of the first Masses of his I attended, he even mentioned the HBO miniseries, “Rome.”

    I went to every Solemn Mass for Christmas he held my four years as an undergrad — the first one almost accidentally, because I was putting off a 25-page all-nighter (I later credited the miraculous “A” I received to his inspiration haha). But I was hooked. There was something so special about being huddled together in a crowded Holy Trinity or an equally crowded Gaston, with the choir, the candlelight, the smell of incense, and Fr. King reading in that distinctive voice of his. The man was truly able to communicate faith to people in a way I’ve never experienced or heard of before. As others have said of their relationships with Fr. King, he probably barely knew me, but he was an essential part of my Georgetown (and religious) experience — like the Healy Building, which never knew my name but looms large in my memories, synonymous with Georgetown.

    A painful note to have to write… To everyone dishonoring Fr. King’s memory with fake controversy over a few unimportant words in the post about someone who was on his way to pay his respects and mourn Fr. King, please think about what you are doing, please turn the other cheek and forgive imperfect messengers. Fr. King was a great man, and we should remember him as such. You all have done much more to taint my period of mourning than Vox could have. I know that you are hurting, but reacting by lashing out at innocents is unworthy of Fr. King.

  23. Whether or not it was a democrat or republican who gave the Voice this information, what does it matter? It’s fairly discomforting that everyone is so focused on that statement alone. For the sake of Father King, end the childish discussion and heed the words of E.S. Col 08, and make the discussion focused on what really matters. It’s embarrassing that everyone wants to make things about themselves, even when discussing a topic as sacred and emotional as this.

  24. Father Tom is my cousin and his sister is my godmother. I will send this article too her as she will be very grateful to see it and hear the outpour of wonderful comments. I have known Fr. Tom since my birth, he was well loved by all the family. We have many memories of events such as his ordination and family visits.

    Wish I had been one of those lucky ones that went on the trips he lead through the Holy Land.

    I personally regarded his life/beliefs as remarkable. The warmth and tenderness he had towards everyone will be cherished in my memories. If God would grant all of us with even a portion of the compassion for life he had this world would be such better place.

  25. and this is why so many chrisitans are hypocrites. congratulations on loving thy neighbor. it’s shameful that many of you used this forum to voice your intolerance for a catholic who loved, respected, and had a close relationship with father king.

  26. I was just pointed to this article by a fellow Hoya and told to read the comments.

    This is exactly why I do not read The Voice.

    I am sure Fr. King is REALLY proud of you all right now for so disgustingly attacking a fellow student because you happen to disagree with his political party affiliation. Do any of you actually know Fitz Lufkin? I seriously doubt it, because I DO know him and I am certain that none of you would be saying these things if you did.

    You should all be ashamed.

  27. For the record, I would like to say the following:

    Upon hearing of the death of Fr. King (from credible sources with many connections to both the Jesuit Community and the Catholic Community at Georgetown), I posted on my Twitter Page “RIP Thomas King SJ.” Upon seeing my post, Juliana Brint contacted me via email for more information, asking if I could confirm Fr. King’s death, which she had heard about from someone else. I received this email before the Mass had started. I responded to her email, telling her my source and also letting her know that the Mass was about to start. I did this in the interest of letting as many people as possible know about the service, so that they might be able to attend. At no point did I ever identify myself as GUCD Vice President. However, the information is true and many people know me as such. I do not object to Vox putting it in the article, because it is factual. However, I personally do not see how it is relevant to the story. Furthermore, to insinuate that by informing Vox of the information I had that I was trying to make a political statement is ridiculous. It is true that I am both a practicing Catholic and a Democrat and that I am proud of both affiliations. But that is not the issue at hand.

    What is lost in this debate is the commemoration of the life of one of Georgetown’s most influential figures. As a student of his, as well as a frequent participant in the 11:15 pm Mass, I was both shocked and saddened by the news of his passing. He had a great influence on my life as a Catholic and as a student. I very much enjoyed his class on Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and his homilies at Mass. What I will remember most about him is that he always put a smile on his face when he saw you, an illustration of his genuine care for students and all members of the Georgetown community. He was a dedicated priest, teacher, and caretaker of the University. I will miss seeing him, listening to his words, and talking to him. I wish nothing but the greatest blessings upon him.

  28. “Wow, banner day”, I don’t see why this has anything to do with the Voice. Have you ever read the comments on the Hoya website? They’re just as loony, if not worse.

    But, since you bring it up, somehow I doubt that the uber-Catholic people complaining about this article are regular Voice readers. If they have a problem with mentioning the word “Democrat” because Democrats are “opposed to the moral teachings of the Church,” I don’t think that they’re subscribers to Georgetown’s explicitly liberal school newsmagazine. Chances are they’d just as much rather see the Voice kicked off campus as well for its views.

    Take issue all you like with some of the nutty commenters, but I really don’t see how you can extend your criticism to the Voice.

  29. The point was not to criticize Fitz or the Democratic Party and I don’t think I’ve done that. No one said Fitz was trying to make a political statement.

    The only criticism, at least from my posting is of the Georgetown Voice for a clear lack of judgment and injecting politics into something that should be apolitical.

    The point was saying, as Fitz did in his comment, that politics shouldn’t have been a part of this posting.

    I would be as disappointed in the Voice had they mentioned the title of the College Republican Vice Chairman.

    That’s not to say they couldn’t have quoted the person – just leave out the title. Leave out the politics.

  30. Juliana was merely following standard protocol for all news organizations by indicating Fitz’s leadership role (a fairly important one, at that, given the size of the College Dems). Since the university hadn’t made an official statement yet, but the information is clearly of importance to the community, I find no problem in using Fitz as a source.

    Additionally, how is this at all an appropriate tribute to Fr. King who, despite being politically conservative, would never have wanted a student lambasted for something so trivial? One thing I loved about Fr. King’s sermons was that, even as a Jew, I could always relate to them in some way, for they always stressed tolerance, love for one’s neighbors, and FORGETTING ABOUT SUPERFICIAL NONSENSE.

    Cut the crap, people, and take a page from the beliefs of one of the Georgetown community’s most honorable members.

  31. Attributing a position to someone who does in fact hold that position is a statement of fact. The only politics that were “injected” into this situation were your own “This isn’t a time for politics.”

    This board should have been a place for mourners of this great man to come together and share memories, not to wage personal battles.

    Maybe this violates some sort of blog ethics code, but I’d love it if the Voice would just close this thread (or remove it all together) so we could start fresh and honor Fr. King the way he deserves.

  32. Father King was one of the most influential people in my life. He was my professor for Problem of God in 1987 and Teilhard in 1988. I routinely attended his 11:15 mass on Sunday nights. I can still hear the way he would begin his sermons with “if you almost feel like your in some kind of cycle..”.
    His faith in God and the teachings of Christ made me want to be a better Catholic. He helped me understand that we can use the gift of life to serve humanity. He was very supportive of my decision to pursue life as a physician and surgeon and felt that medicine was a very noble profession.
    Years later, in 2001, he married a two classmates of mine, and it was at the wedding rehearsal that we had a chance to catch up. I told him that I would never been able to perserve without all his guidance and that he had a profound influence on my life then and now. I’ll never forget that he was so touched and proud that he actually shed a tear.
    I will always love him for the influence he had in my life. I am deeply saddened by his loss. I hope that God will bless him and grant him happiness in eternity.

  33. To anyone who wants to bicker about politics at this time: STOP embarrassing your University now. It’s because of people like you that the ideal of Faith and Reason intersecting at a liberal arts University is almost dead. This was an ideal that Father King always had in his side-view mirror. Do you think for one minute that a man who taught courses on Teilhard de Chardin and “the Problem of God” would encourage that kind of closed-minded talk? Shame on you. Start acting like the informed and open-minded intellectuals professors like Fr. King try so hard to cultivate instead of ignorant, selfishly motivated dolts.

    Having worked in Campus Ministry over the past year, I was able to see first-hand Father King’s immense contribution to living, learning, and growing spiritually at the Georgetown community. Even though I was not personally close with Father King, I know there will be quite a void in the Georgetown community now, but I hope that we can come together to honor him the right way. To paraphrase Dave Gregory, it is because of individuals like Father King that we become so connected to Georgetown, and grow so much as spiritual beings and citizens of the world here.

    Whatever your race, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion etc. may be, just put differences aside, celebrate life, and honor Father King by living in love and gratitude.

  34. I have a profound respect for Father King, and though I know people who were much closer to him than myself, I found him to be one of the most humble and committed members of the Georgetown Community.

    I fondly remember the way he said “anyway” in his quiet homilies, the way he encouraged young men to come to vocations nights to pray about possible calls to the priesthood, the way he institutionalized the Advent mass as a GU tradition, the way he was so supportive of ideas to bring hoyas closer to the church. On the last point, I most remember Fr. King celebrating a mass and leading a surprisingly well-attended rosary for peace during the Iraq war. At the end, many attendees asked to keep the rosaries.

    I certainly hope that those who understand the magnitude of what Fr. K meant to Georgetown come together to memorialize him in some permanent way.


    Ben Cote ’05

  35. I am not part of the Georgetown community, but work and live in DC, and got hooked on his 11:15 pm sunday evening mass after I first attended one when I had missed mass earlier in the day. The reverence and beauty of Fr. King’s mass and his homilies blew me away, and I began to go every sunday night even after I had already been to sunday morning mass. I’m not sure all the students of Georgetown really appreciate his depth and what dazzling light came from him in his mass. Of all the priests I have ever known, Fr. King’s celebration of the Eucharist and his homilies were probably the most profound and authentic that I have ever had the privilege to witness. It seemed to me that being in the presence of Fr. King was something like being in the presence of Christ himself. Many of the things that Fr. King said are etched in my memory forever. I will never forget him. Thank you Fr. King for your profound witness to the love of Christ! May God bless you and give you your eternal peace and happiness.

  36. Father King taught my first and last class at Georgetown. He left the most profound impact on my life during my four years on the Hilltop, and I know he rests in peace.

    Anna McCann

  37. Dear Vox Populi,

    It would be fantastic if you could work with the Jesuit community to try to find the texts for some of Fr. King’s homilies. I, for one, wish I had taken notes more often during his services; it would be great to be able to read through even a few.


  38. I met Father King when I was a freshman living on the 2nd floor of New North, where he was the resident Jesuit and rumored to be the priest upon whom “The Exorcist” was based. During my years at Georgetown from 1982 to 1986, I sporadically attended the 11:15 Mass. I grew to know Fr. King better when I was a member and later chair of the GU Right to Life Committee. I came to this site hoping to share others’ reflections on a Jesuit who I remember as an intellectual, thoughtful, deeply spiritual priest and phenomenal preacher.

    Fr. King taught about Tielhard de Chardin, who was silenced by the Church because his beliefs, shaped by the observed scientific world, challenged the orthodox teachings of the Church. It seems strange that people would seek to “honor” Fr. King by demanding that we erase any hint that one of Fr. King’s mourners is a Democrat, and thus presumably has beliefs that are not 100% compliant with Church orthodoxy.

    I certainly never got the sense from Father King that he believed that being a Democrat was incompatible with being a good Catholic or good person. Twenty-five years ago, when I was at Georgetown, there were however many of his acolytes who somehow considered it blaspemous to be a Democrat (even if one was pro-life), but who enthuiastically supported the Republican Party’s lustful embrace of the death penalty, orgiastic military spending, fetishistic embrace of right-wing death squads and torture, tax policies that favored the rich, spending policies that cruelly hurt the poor, and deadly silence and inaction in the face of what was then a new disease, AIDS. Although I was then a Republican ROTC cadet, it was clear to me that no party had a monopoly on adherence to Catholic moral teaching, and that good Catholics of good conscience can belong to any political party.

    Within a few years after graduating from Georgetown, my views on abortion began to change. First, I learned that a close female relative had been brutally raped. When I was an Army JAG officer, our office regularly prosecuted soldiers who had impregnated their young teenage daughters or stepdaughters. The “hard cases” were no longer an abstraction, but real flesh-and-blood people whose lives had been shattered. My moral certainty that these girls should be forced to carry these pregancies to term evaporated. For me, abortion was no longer a black-and-white issue, but one that involved some awful shades of gray.

    Of the board members of the GU Right to Life Committee when I was chair, most were closeted while at Georgetown, but have since come out as gay men. I came to understand that many of the politicians and activists who adamantly insist on legislating particular standards of sexual morality for others (myself included) are in wrestling with their own sexual demons. It seems fair to say that, as an institution, the Catholic Church has been wrestling with some sexual demons of its own over the past few decades, including sheltering the pedophile Jesuit who was an advisor of mine in high school). My experience has led me to believe that the Church lacks a certain credibility on matters of sexual ethics.

    In 1998, a friend’s brother-in-law, Barnett Slepian, was murdered in his home in front of his wife and children because he performed abortions. The consequence of extremist rhetoric by pro-life activists was no longer an abstraction. As a gay man, I have several friends and acquaintances who have been gay-bashed by people who have taken the anti-gay rhetoric they heard in their churches and twisted it into a justification for violence.

    There are times when I long for the moral certainty of my youth. But my experience, and the Georgetown education taught me to engage with and learn from the world, rather than retreat from it, has led me to believe that there are shades of gray that I cannot even comprehend.

    I am gay, pro-choice, a Democrat, and a lapsed Catholic. But just as the doors of Dahlgren Chapel were open to all at 11:15, I am entitled unapologetically to a place among those who wish to honor Fr. King’s memory and mourn his passing.

  39. ES: Father King’s homilies are available on CD. Contact David Gregory (COL ’10) if you want to purchase them.

  40. I was Tom’s server at the weekday Mass from 1990 until 1992, and I’d ask all who cared about Fr. King to calm down and remember that he was always a loving person. I never knew his politics, because we talked about isssues, not parties, but his concern for the poor, the homeless, the unborn, and those on death row were well known. He never asked me about politics, and he never to my knowledge was unchristian, a statement few of us could say. He would want us to carry out the work done by the people he respected, and his work. To honor him, and all those who loved him, and who he loved, we must come together as a community, even if we are separated by politics, space and time. I’m sure he had criticisms of most politicians, but I’m sure he’d try to win them over to the Gospel to show concern for the vulnerable in our society. I knew many people who came to his Masses, of all political stripes, and they all felt welcome there. To honor him and all those who have touched your lives at Georgetown, read their books, listen to their talks (and sermons), remember what they taught us, both in their words and deeds, and most importantly, share those good words and deeds with others. Peace.

  41. Hi everyone,

    Fr. King was in the process of collecting his recorded homilies with the intent of publishing them; at this point in time, I do not know if this project will come to fruition, but I do know that we do have a fair number of his homilies on CD and cassette scattered amongst past acolytes, including myself. Over the course of the summer, I would like to transcribe these into Word documents for distribution, either in physical or electronic form. If anyone has any of these recorded homilies in their possession, or is interested in this, please e-mail me at Thank you!

    Dave Gregory, Class of 2010

  42. Father King’s 11:15pm Sunday Night Mass is one of my most-cherished memories from my days on the Hilltop. Every Sunday when I walked out of Dahlgren and headed back to Lauinger, I had a feeling of complete calm and peace. Father King’s homilies were inspiring and he will be truly missed.

    RIP, Father King.

    Daniel LaBianca, SFS ’97

  43. I had the pleasure of knowing Fr. King for only a short time. He generously agreed to be on my dissertation committee. I received a helpful e-mail from him just last week.

    He certainly did more than his share in the Great Work. I am confident that he is enjoying communion with Christ and the Saints.

    I will keep you all in my prayers, as you mourn his passing.

    Bede Bidlack, Boston College

  44. I just read the forwarded Washington Post article about Tom King’s death. I don’t really know how I’m feeling right now — sad, yes; guilty, too. I am profoundly grateful for having known him. In many ways, he — along with Fathers Stan and Davis — was responsible for my survival in Washington during the tumultuous years of tenure as a student at Georgetown University. Indeed, he may have been, and still may be, a significant factor in my continued survival.

    His years of putting up with me in spiritual direction have taught me much about the love of God and how we are to love each other — not that I have been a good or faithful student in that area of my life.

    But now I shall be forever unable to fulfill his last spoken request to me — to be able to celebrate the Holy Eucharist together as ordained ministers of the altar. In this year that the Church begins the celebration of the Year of the Priest, it is Tom King, a true son of Ignatius, whom I shall remember as best typifying the selfless response to Jesus’ call to service.

    Perhaps, Tom, we can celebrate together before the face of God. Until then, pray for me as I shall for you.

  45. Hello David Gregory,

    I have a few copies of Fr. King’s Sermons on tape that he once gave me about 1 year before he passed. I will be happy to copy them for anyone who requests them. I have been hunting to get more bc when I spoke with Fr. King at the time, he mentioned he was in fact putting them all together in various formats, most notabely for a publication. Given Fr. King’s long llist of publications, i took if for certain this project would be completed and kind of forgot about it. Unfortunatley, I am now scambling to find as many as I can.

    So far, I have emailed anyone I can verify was an accolate at the Sermons who may have helped with the audio recordings of each 11:15 PM Mass Sermon. I have also reached out to the following:

    (1) GU Theology Department — Not much help. (I think I will try Otto next to get the inside jesuit scoop.)
    (2) Fr. Steve Spahn, Holy Trinity — Gave the homily at Fr. King’s funeral mass

    Again, not much luck so far…

    My name is Mike Woods (Col ’00), and can be reached via email at

    I encourage anyone with any info or have access to any of Fr. King’s sermons to email me so we can share what we have.

    Mike Woods

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>