Fr. Tom Lumpkin

Heroic Priests

Fr. Tom Lumpkin was ordained 1964. He served in parishes for first 14 years, two suburban parishes and one city parish. After serving in parishes, he asked Cardinal Dearden to let him have a special assignment with the Catholic Worker Movement. He has been assigned to the Catholic Worker Movement since 1978.

Fr. Tom is the Director of Day House, a small shelter for homeless women and children in Detroit. They stay with them until they are able to get settled in a home of their own. Fr. Tom is also the Co-Director of Manna Meals soup kitchen, which is operated our of the basement of St. Peter’s Episcopal church. He also serves at the Wayne County Jail, doing the Catholic service for the inmates.

Fr. Tom sited the example of a young priest at his parish when he was growing up, Msgr. Edward Baldwin, as an inspiring example of the priesthood that made him think about joining the seminary. Fr. Tom said that Msgr. Baldwin’s presence with the young people in the parish and his genuine personality made the priesthood attractive to him. Fr. Tom entered seminary right after high school.

During his time studying at the University of Louvain, Belgium, he spent time traveling during the summer and was exposed to the poor for the first time. He said this was a life changing time of his life where the exposure to the outside world helped him to gain perspective. After years at suburban parishes and a parish in Detroit, he felt called to work more directly with the poor through the Catholic Worker movement, which was founded by Dorothy Day. Throughout his time as a priest, Fr. Tom has participated in a number of protests against wars and other injustices.

When he was in seminary, the exposure to scripture played a key role in helping him to realize that Jesus was alive in his life. As his faith journey continued over the years, Fr. Tom said contemplation and meditation are the things that keep him going in his priesthood. Before Fr. Tom enters into his days work at the soup kitchen, he will spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament in quiet prayer.

Fr. Tom expressed how grateful he is that he continues to be able to work at Day House with the blessing of the Archdiocese.

Fr. Tom Lumpkin is the Director of Day House and the Co-Director of Manna Meals.

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