A collection of Teachable Moments from Msgr. McIntyre

“It is really hard to lose a student,” the priest said, remembering Christina from many years ago. He paused briefly, and added, “and it is even harder to lose a child.”

Ann G. D’Ippolito, Christina’s mother, found some comfort in his words. And she remembered how the priest had ministered to Christina when she, then a 51-year-old woman with breast cancer, had come to live out her remaining time with her mother.

That was almost four years ago, and now D’Ippolito was listening to the old teacher celebrate Mass in the house of his own sister Jeanie. It is the place where he has come in ill health. It is the place where he is cared for.

Msgr. Thomas McIntyre, who was until recently one of the most prominent clergymen in the Diocese of Camden, retired in 2010 for medical reasons last year after slipping on ice and suffering a head injury.

Most of the time he is bedridden, and some days are harder than others. The day he celebrated Mass was a good day.

Now 69, Msgr. McIntyre has held a number of important positions in the Diocese of Camden, including high school principal, superintendent of schools and vicar for pastoral services. At the time of his retirement he was pastor of Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish, Cape May.

He also served for a time as executive editor of the Catholic Star Herald and continued to write a column, Teachable Moments, until the time of his injury.

D’Ippolito, who worked with Msgr. McIntyre at Sacred Heart High School, Vineland, in the 1970s, helped put together “One Priest’s Dream: Reflections,” a paperback collection of 36 of the priest’s essays, most of them columns that were originally printed in the Star Herald.

In the book’s prologue, D’Ippolito describes Msgr. McIntyre as a “giver” and an active man who used to take long bicycle rides three times a week. “Now he allows others to be givers,” she writes. “He changes places with those he once helped.”

Among the writings in the collection is “The Meaning of One Mass,” in which Msgr. McIntyre writes: “To be a follower of Christ we must be ready to accept all there is, the joys of living and life’s sorrows…. Loss of good health we once took for granted, or the spouse whose presence we sorely miss, need not crush us.”

“One Priest’s Dream: Reflections” can be ordered on-line from http://www.lulu.com. Proceeds help pay for Msgr. McIntyre’s medical bills.

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