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The Most Reverend Thomas Joseph, M.S.
Catholic Church of America

 June 3, 1949- August 4, 2009



His Excellency, Most Reverend, (known by all as Father Tom) Thomas Joseph Beckman, M.A. passed away after a long illness, August 4, 2009 in his home in San Diego. Fr. Tom was born June 3, 1949 in New York, the fourth of four children to Henry William Beckman and Rose Alice De Martini. Upon graduating from Cardinal Hayes High School, the young Tom Beckman enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1966 at the height of Vietnam War. He was a Petty Officer assigned to the USN Elk River.

He was discharged from the Navy in 1970. Fr. Tom graduated from National University in San Diego in June of 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Sciences. He earned a Masters Degree in Educational Counseling from San Diego State University in 1990.

Fr. Tom worked for the San Diego Unified School District as a counselor and then as a Program Manager for Adults and Families for Fr. Joe’s Villages in San Diego. Fr. Tom also worked in San Isidro and San Diego Downtown Mental Health as a Psychiatric Case Worker. Fr. Tom was respected by his supervisors and his peers in his ability to deal with difficult situations. He was an extraordinary counselor with a keen insight into people.

Fr. Tom’s love for God, for the Church and for ministry led him to seek ordination first in the Johannine Old Catholic Church, September, 23, 1978 and then in the Liberal Catholic Church. He was ordained by the Most Reverend Dean Bekken of the Liberal Catholic Church on August 16, 1981. With permission from his Ordinary, The Most Reverend Rainer Laufers, Presiding Archbishop of the Old Holy Catholic Church based in Canada, Father Beckman was assigned to work with The Most Reverend Thomas Abel, STL, for the Catholic Church of Amereica in San Diego, California.

Fr. Tom ministered at St. Francis Liberal Catholic Church, the Polish National Catholic Church, and St. John the Beloved Parish, all in San Diego.

Fr. Tom also served the Dignity Catholic Community in San Diego, Chapter, as a regular chaplain, presider and homilist. He will be remembered, especially by the Dignity Community, for his gentle manner and his interesting sermons, always calling the community to be more inclusive and more loving. Over the last few years, because of poor health, Fr. Tom often lamented that he missed the community and he missed presiding and preaching at Eucharist… a feeling shared by the entire Dignity Family.

Fr. Tom is survived by his brother, Henry W. Beckman of Texas; his sister Carolyn Beccarelli of New York; his companion and friend of 40 years, Ralph Mann of San Diego; Marco Corona, over whom Tom and Ralph had guardianship during his teenage years; and many friends, neighbors, priests and former workers at various social service agencies in the area.

Memorial Masses: 11:30 a.m. Sunday, September 13, 2009 at St. John the Beloved Cathedral, 3900 Cleveland Ave. San Diego, CA 92103. Dignity-San Diego will celebrate a Memorial Mass at 6 p.m. Sunday, September 20, 2009 in Clark Chapel at The Unitarian Universalist Church, 4190 Front St. San Diego, CA 92103.
Fr. Tom’s remains will be buried with his parents in St. Raymond Cemetery, in the Bronx , New York. May he rest in peace.

“How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good the Lord has done for me? The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the Lord. My vows to the Lord I will pay in the presence of all God’s people. Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of God’s faithful ones. O Lord, I am your servant, the son of your handmaid; you have loosed my bonds. To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116:12-17




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