“The Catholic Church means a lot to me,” says Fr. Tom Johns. “I was born and raised a Catholic and have been a priest for 43 years. I love the Catholic Church, and I want to do good for the Church, even beyond my life here.”
Next year marks Fr. Johns’ 25th year as pastor at St. John Vianney Church in Mentor. “I tell people in the parish that they should strive to give 10% of their income to charity, so that is in my plan,” explains Fr. Johns.
Specifically, Fr. Johns has named St. John Vianney parish in his estate plan. “This is a way to continue to minister to the people of this parish and help them grow as Catholics,” he says.
Fr. Johns has also included Catholic Charities, which he has supported throughout his priesthood. And, in gratitude for his formation at Borromeo and Saint Mary Seminaries and his time on the Borromeo faculty, he has chosen to leave a gift for the seminaries.
In addition to the parish and diocese, Fr. Johns also believes in supporting the greater Church. “I have always tried to support the Propagation of the Faith,” says Fr. Johns. “When I was a student in the seminary, I had the chance to serve in El Salvador, so I have always had that connection and have tried to support the missions.”
Fr. Johns grew up in Willowick as one of six children and attended St. Mary Magdelene Catholic School. At the time, the grade school did not charge tuition. “When I went into the seminary, I know my pastor helped my parents,” he remembers. “I’ve always been grateful for my Catholic education and all the people who have made that possible,” he says while mentioning his support of Catholic education.
“My aim is to pay it forward. People have been so good to me throughout my life, and people continue to be good to me here at the parish. I want to help them and help other people after I am gone,” he remarks. “I hope to leave a good example for people. That is probably the biggest thing I want to do.”