TORONTO, May 28, 2012 – The Catholic Civil Rights League joins the family, friends and colleagues of Tom Langan in giving thanks for Tom’s many contributions to the Church and for the guiding role he played in the lives of so many of his students.
Tom, who died Friday May 25 at the age of 83, was part of the original steering committee that established the CCRL in 1985. He served as president for many years, helping to guide the organization from a loosely-organized group of volunteers to a professional organization with a paid staff and national support base. He became President Emeritus in 2004.
“We know our entire membership joins us in praying for Tom and all his family at this time,” said Phil Horgan, President of the League. “As well as being respected scholars, authors, and teachers, active in their faith community, Tom and Janine have also been role models for thousands whose lives they have touched over the years. The board of CCRL thinks of the Langans as very much part of our family.
“Tom can take credit for bringing thousands closer to Jesus Christ, and for helping many of us to have a deeper and richer knowledge and experience of the faith. “The words of the Magnificat are appropriate. Tom and Janine truly magnify the greatness and glory of God.”
Joanne McGarry, League executive director, remembers Tom best for the funny stories he would tell about his career, both in the academic world and his student summer jobs on the U.S. railway system. “Though Tom was very much at home in academia exploring advanced philosophy, he also enjoyed chatting with all sorts of people and getting to know them. And first and foremost, his love of his family came through loud and clear.”
Tom was on the faculty of philosophy of the University of Toronto from 1967 to 1994, with St. Michael’s College from 1978 to 1994. He served as chairman of the Commission on the Family for the Archdiocese of Toronto, as a member of the Board of Regents at Athol Murray College of Notre Dame, Wilcox, Sask, and as a Consultor for the World Organization for the Family, Vienna. He was chairman of the Spiritual Development Committee of Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Toronto, from 1981 to 1983. He is a graduate of St. Louis University and the Institut Catholique de Paris.
Tom received the papal knighthood Knight of St. Sylvester in 2006 in recognition of his outstanding service as a Catholic educator and for his long-term leadership of the League. Janine received the honour “Lady of St. Sylvester” at the same time for her service to education. Tom is the author of many books, including Surviving the Age of Virtual Reality; Human Being, a Philosophical Anthology (with Antonio Calcagno), and The Meaning of Heidegger.
The Langans were both active in the Communio movement, and contributed frequently to its journal and conferences. They have five children, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandson.
Funeral information is available in this obituary. Mass and sympathy cards and other expressions of condolence can be sent to the League. We will forward them to Tom’s family. (Our mailing address is 500- 120 Eglinton Ave. E., Toronto ON M4P 1E2.)
As the League’s tribute, we plan to compile a book of Tom’s writings, focusing on work he did for the League. We will also prepare memorial prayer cards featuring the prayer Tom wrote for the League.