Fr. Tom Gardner was born and raised in Bexley, Ohio. He is the second oldest of five children and was raised in a wonderful, loving Catholic family. Growing up, he was a very active student in the Bexley Public Schools, being involved in the choir programs, the school newspaper and in theater. He also was very active in Boy Scouts, earning the Eagle Scout award when he was 18. Fr. Tom grew up in St. Catherine parish, where he participated in CCD and was an altar server along with his siblings. Faith, family prayer and scripture were normal parts of life in the Gardner household. During those years, Fr. Tom occasionally had thoughts of being a priest.
In 2005, Fr. Tom graduated from Bexley High School and was accepted at THE Ohio State University in their Technology Education program. At Ohio State, he was extremely involved with the Catholic group Saint Paul's Outreach (SPO). Through his time with SPO during college, the seeds of faith planted by his parents started to grow and take deeper root and he started to discern a call to the Priesthood. His time in SPO gave him the opportunity to serve on and attend many great faith-building retreats for college students, to reach out and share his faith with other students on the OSU campus, and to go on various mission trips. He graduated in Spring of 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in Technology Education.
After graduating from OSU, Fr. Tom entered seminary in the Fall of 2009 to study for the Diocese of Columbus. He spent six years at the Pontifical College Josephinum (PCJ) studying. During that time, he grew more deeply in love with Jesus and His Church and had many wonderful professors in philosophy, theology, liturgy, scripture, Greek, Latin, homiletics, and more. It was a packed six years! In his free time, Fr. Tom enjoyed running, bowling, swimming, watching movies and hanging out with his friends. One of the annual highlights for him was participating in the “Mud Bowl,” a high-intensity flag football game between the older guys and the younger guys. Fr. Tom earned three degrees from the PCJ: a Master’s of Theology, a Master’s of Divinity and a Bachelor’s of Sacred Theology. His Master’s work focused on the application of the theology of Pope St. John Paul the Great to Christian Marriage.
Fr. Tom was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Columbus on May 30, 2015 at St. Paul’s Church in Westerville. It was a joyful day filled with God’s grace and blessings for the huge crowds that packed in to see six seminarians commit their lives to service in the Church and receive the awesome Sacrament of Holy Orders. Following Ordination, Fr. Tom was assigned to the three-parish consortium of St. Peter in Chains in Wheelersburg, St. Monica’s in New Boston and Holy Trinity in Jackson. He served there from August of 2015 until July of 2016. His first year of ministry was filled with many great memories, including his first Christmas and Easter as a Priest. He had the privilege at the Easter Triduum of being the main celebrant at all of the Masses, which was a great joy for him in his first year of the priesthood. Fr. Tom was also involved with teaching RCIA, visiting the sick and homebound, helping lead the Youth Group and spending time with the students at Notre Dame Catholic Elementary and High Schools.
In July of 2016, Fr. Tom was re-assigned to St. Brendan parish. He looks forward to continuing to serve God in this community and seeing how Jesus will change lives with His grace and mercy!