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In Memoriam, Very Rev. Thomas A. Baima, 1953–2022

April 22, 2022

With grateful and sorrowful hearts, we regret to share the news of the death of our dear friend and beloved colleague, Very Rev. Thomas A. Baima. We know how much Fr. Tom impacted people personally and in his longtime role as Vicar for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Archdiocese of Chicago. As Vicar he served as expert advisor for the archbishops of Chicago, representing them liturgically, speaking as the public voice of the archdiocese in ecumenical and interreligious settings, and serving in countless behind-the-scenes consultations, preparations, and meetings.

Fr. Tom was a visionary leader. He saw issues and opportunities well beyond the immediate topics and tasks at hand. His strong collaborative nature brought theory and practice together in service to the Gospel, the heart of the Christian faith. He understood that ‘we are all church’ and we bring different gifts to the table. A critic of clericalism, his empowering support of lay leadership in ministry called forth women and men to share their many gifts across many platforms.

Fr. Tom’s extraordinary intellect and profound faith led him to care deeply about each person he encountered and the beliefs that inspired their actions. He knew that disagreement in religious matters does not stop us from truly loving one another and so he lived his ecumenical and interreligious ministry as a path of love, compassion, and kindness. Fr. Tom’s legacy is deeply interwoven in the fabric of this ministry in the archdiocese of Chicago, nationally, and internationally.

Through his warm welcome, openness, and deep knowledge, Fr. Tom was equally at home and effective in official Vatican dialogues, local dialogue meetings, academic conferences, and in personal conversations over coffee. Fr. Tom was a bridge builder who often reminded us that “if you get the relationships right, the issues will work out.”

Always in service to the project, agenda, or focus of a meeting, Fr. Tom’s legendary work ethic was in sync with his sense of humor. Pleasant to be with in any circumstance, Fr. Tom was not rigid in his thinking but always open to new ideas. His precision in thought and generosity in spirit often discerned a creative and brilliant way forward in difficult and complicated situations. Steady, reliable and with a love of music and the arts, he understood ecclesial cultures and systems across religions as few others did. His collaborative way was always at the service of the good of all rooted in the Gospel he deeply loved.

We know how blessed we have been to be among his close colleagues in collaboration and dialogue with our many religious partners. May we continue to live and work with the spirit of his love, compassion, and kindness before us. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

Dr. Daniel J. Olsen Susan M. Pudelek, M.Div. Dr. Jon Nilson
Director Assistant Director Consultant

Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs
Archdiocese of Chicago

Metropolitan Chicago is one of the most religiously diverse areas in the world.  We are blessed to live in such a faith-filled community.

Hello.  I am Father Thomas Baima and I serve as Cardinal Cupich’s Vicar for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Welcome to our web site.

As many of you know, the Second Vatican Council fully embraced the ecumenical movement and recognized it as truly inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit.  Our church also recognizes that God is at work in religions beyond Christianity, especially Judaism, and thus encourages dialogue and collaboration with them.

Cardinal Cupich’s vision for our local church is inspired by the gospel vision of Pope Francis—love of Christ in our neighbor. The Archdiocesan Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs is here to help you answer that gospel call, knowledgeably and creatively, with our religious neighbors.

Thanks for visiting our web site feel free to reach out to our staff and may God bless you all.