Dear Friends of RENEW,
It is with great sadness that I announce the death of Monsignor Thomas P. Ivory, a co-founder of RENEW International. Fr. Tom died on the morning of Wednesday, October 7 while undergoing heart surgery.
In the mid-1970s, Fr. Ivory collaborated with Monsignor Tom Kleissler in developing the original RENEW process within the Archdiocese of Newark. RENEW eventually became the leader in providing materials and leader training for small Christian communities in parishes around the world.
Fr. Ivory grew up in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and attended Seton Hall Preparatory School in South Orange, planning to become a lawyer. But he changed his mind when he heard a priest who was visiting Seton Hall give a talk about choosing a career that is meaningful rather than lucrative. He answered a vocation to the priesthood and studied at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium where he learned from some of the experts at the Second Vatican Council. Later, while spiritual director at The American College in Louvain, he completed studies for a doctorate in sacred theology.
From 1975 to 1985, Fr. Tom Ivory was the archdiocesan director of religious education. His office was next to that of Fr. Tom Kleissler, who was heading the newly formed Office of Pastoral Renewal. The two young priests and their staffs, plus many sisters and volunteers, conceived of and established a process of revitalizing parishes through small-group ministry, a process to be known as RENEW.
RENEW honored Fr. Tom Ivory together with Fr. Tom Kleissler at our 2005 Gala. In 2018, at RENEW’s 40th anniversary Symposium on Parish Renewal, Cardinal Joseph Tobin presented Fr. Ivory and Fr. Kleissler with papal blessings for their founding of RENEW International.
I remember Fr. Tom Ivory fondly. He recently shared with me that his role in the founding of RENEW was one of his proudest accomplishments. He was always interested in our newest projects and consulted with us on our latest online program Baptism Matters. Fr. Tom continued to support RENEW to the present.
May Fr. Tom Ivory experience God’s warm embrace and may he become one of RENEW’s fervent intercessors.
Sr. Terry Rickard, O.P.
President of RENEW International