Deacon Tom Rich, TSA. D.MIN., J.C.L, has been coming to Graymoor since he was a young man.
His relationship with the Society of the Atonement began in his youth, as he and his family made numerous trips to the Holy Mountain.
“A good 40 years or more, I’ve been coming here for retreats,” Deacon Tom said. “I truly believe it is a Holy Mountain, and that’s why I kept coming back.”
Since those visits to Graymoor years ago, Deacon Tom has worn several hats for the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, and he recently added another. The Friars announced this week that Deacon Tom will be joining the team full time as the new Executive Director of the Holy Mountain Franciscan Retreat Center.
Along with his enduring love for Graymoor, Deacon Tom brings a wealth of experience to his new role, as well as fresh ideas for the retreat center. He is hoping to put those ideas into practice.
“I’m excited about having an opportunity to bring new initiatives,” Deacon Tom said. “I want to get back to prayer groups. Not necessarily a whole retreat, but they’re coming as a prayer group for adoration, prayer service, the rosary.
“I’d like to really get more activity during the week. Where people can come up for a day or a couple of days, especially senior citizens, to offer them topics that are geared toward their spirituality and where they are in their lives right now. I’m very excited about putting into operation some of the ideas and seeing how they work.”
In January of 2020, Deacon Tom was welcomed as a Tertiary of the Society of the Atonement ad experimentum. He has served as the Friar’s Vocations Director since that time, and has played an active role in Graymoor’s retreat ministry.
He became a professed Secular Franciscan in 1986 and was ordained a permanent Deacon for the Diocese of Rockville Centre in 1988. In 2004, he co-founded the Long Island-based Society of Franciscan Deacons.
Deacon Tom’s experience also includes several other religious roles. He is a Diocesan Judge of the Tribunal of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y., and has served for many years in parish ministry at Our Lady of Hope Church in Carle Place. There, he has held various positions, including organist, choir director, religious education teacher and, most recently, as director of religious education.
Furthermore, Deacon Tom is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Canon Law at St. Joseph’s Seminary and College, and he also teaches Canon Law in the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception Deacon Formation program. He is a registered nurse and nurse practitioner. He holds master’s degrees in Nursing, Health Education and Religious Studies, a licentiate degree of Canon Law and a doctoral degree in Pastoral Counseling.
Deacon Tom has been married to his wife, Anne, more than 40 years and has two grown sons.