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Presentations and Contributions by the late Very Rev. Thomas A. Baima

Very Rev. Thomas A. Baima

The late Very Rev. Thomas Baima, vicar for the Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Office of the Archdiocese of Chicago, is former president of the Illinois Conference of Churches, the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago and the O’Hare Interfaith Chapel Corporation. Fr. Baima is trustee emeritus of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions. He is the author of Concordat of Agreement Between the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: Lessons on the Way Toward Full Communion, and the co-author of Understanding Four Views of The Lord’s Supper. Fr. Baima serves as editor of A Legacy of Catholic/Jewish Dialogue: The Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Jerusalem Lectures, and What is a Parish? Canonical, Theological and Pastoral Perspectives. He is a contributor to A Sourcebook of the World Religions, A Blessing to Each Other: The Writings of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin on Catholic/Jewish Relations and The Community of Religions: Voices and Images from the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions. Fr. Baima is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the American Catholic Philosophical Association, the Catholic Association of Diocesan Ecumenical Officers and the North American Academy of Ecumenists. He is a fellow of the Christian Leadership Initiative and Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.

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

See below for a list with links to recent presentations and works by the late Very Rev. Fr. Baima: