Shakespeare Garden Dedication: In Memory of Fr. Tom Catania
Fr. Tom Catania began his service to Molloy College in 1981 as an adjunct faculty member.
As a professor of English and Theology, Tom shared with students his probing mind studying Scripture, exploring Dante and Hopkins, Shakespeare and Donne. He created courses in Renaissance drama and poetry and prayer, sparked the program in Communicating Across the Curriculum, and taught in England through Molloy's faculty exchange program.
As a priest, he presided and preached at such important occasions as opening school mass in September, graduation mass in May, and the fortieth and fiftieth anniversary liturgies of the College.
I first encountered Tom in 2000 during my campus interview for President of Molloy.
He asked me my opinion on Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the Papal Encyclical on Higher Education. Even then from my first impression, I knew Tom was a learned man, a leader among the faculty, and eloquent in speech and a nappy dresser.
Fr. Tom and I developed a mutual respect for each other. He was faculty council president from 2000-2004 during my initial years and again from 2010 to 2013, but even when he was not the faculty council president, he served in faculty leadership roles. I relied on his counsel and insight, for he always had the good of the institution, the faculty, and the students in his heart and mind.
Although, not a member of the Dominican order, he was a master preacher, with a vocal quality so refined and divine.
Fr. Tom was an integral part of the fabric of Molloy, and as scholar, poet, cook and gardener, we appropriately commemorate his life and work through this Shakespeare Garden.
A garden contains all the lessons of life
The rhythm of the seasons
The expectant joy of the unopened bud
The tender shoot that cracks the frozen ground
The summer's harvest and winter's end
The teacher and preacher know these same lessons well -
For seeds are sown, that birth anew, what is right and true.
Fr. Tom, we dedicate to you, this piece of holy ground -
Where your love of poem and pen, allegory and story will always be found.