Live. A Servant’s Heart
Q&A with Rev. Thomas G. Fanta –
aka Father Tom –
Pastor of St. Dominic Church
By Jennifer Proe
Photographed by Angelo Merendino except where noted
It’s been more years than I can count since my last Confession,
but I wasn’t nervous at all about talking with the pastor of St.
Dominic Church. Anyone who’s ever listened to Father Tom
Fanta’s homilies knows that he’s a man of compassion and understanding,
aware of his own human foibles, and has a great sense
of humor. Plus, how often do you get to turn the tables on your
parish priest and question him?
As the parish prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary, and
Father Tom approaches his 20th year as pastor, Shaker Life, in
keeping with this issue’s theme of modernization, wanted to get
his reflections on how St. Dominic has evolved over the years.
When you joined St. Dominic as Pastor, what were your initial
impressions of the parish and surrounding community? I
arrived the day before my 40th birthday in 2001. I awoke my first
morning with 40 black crows on the rectory front yard that said
“Lordy, lordy Father Tom is 40.” I gave my first Mass here that day.
It was actually a return for me. While studying at seminary,
I was assigned at St. Dominic as a seminary intern when Father
Amos was the pastor in 1985. I lived and worked in the parish that
year to help me to better understand the life of a parish priest.
I know you come from a large family and grew up on the West
Side. When did Shaker Heights begin to feel like home? I grew
up in North Olmsted with seven siblings. I went to John Carroll
University for undergrad and St. Mary Seminary for graduate
school, both East Side schools. My first assignment was at St.
Clare in Lyndhurst, so I have now lived longer on the East Side
than the West Side. I love both sides of town, but Shaker Heights
is my home. You know this is home when you get annoyed with
drivers who don’t know how to navigate the Rapid tracks crossing
Van Aken Boulevard.
WWW.SHAKER.LIFE | FALL 2020 59
m dernizing a spiritual community