The Tablet Jr. > A Soul Filled With Kindness: Fr. Jomar Lagaspi
By Catherine Johnson, Grade 6
St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy
Fr. Jomar Lagaspi recently had to leave St. Francis de Sales Parish in Belle Harbor, NY. Fr. Jomar was an amazing priest at St Francis de Sales Church. He was kind, compassionate, and a great teacher. He was also a great photographer. Fr. Jomar loved taking his camera to all different types of church and school functions. He took pictures at school plays, sporting events, our annual Oktoberfest, and at the beach. The summer was his favorite time to take his photographs. He loves the background of the beach in the Rockaways. At his final service on December 29th, 2019, he spoke about how the Rockaways remind him of his hometown in the Philippines. He was always at the SFDS Summer Classics Basketball games and at Rockaway Beach Volleyball games taking photos that he loved to share on Social Media. Fr. Jomar truly loves Facebook and has exceeded the amount of Facebook friends allowed by the social media company, which is 5,000 friends. Most of his friends are his former students. He was the principal of Don Bosco Technical Institute, an adjunct professor at Touro College, and worked at Holy Rosary in Staten Island, prior to coming to SFDS.
Fr. Jomar was great at his job and spent so much time getting to know the students at our SFDS Academy and in the CCD program. For example, Fr. Jomar visited the 5th and 6th grade classes once a week and answered any questions we had. In his final homily he spoke about how teachers and parents needed to be “present” to kids, that is all they need, just to know that you are there if they need you. On December 12th, 2019, the students from Ms. Re’s sixth grade Religion Class showed their love and appreciation for Fr. Jomar with a surprise 60th birthday party. He was overwhelmed with the delicious cupcakes made by SFDS’s favorite baker and school secretary, Ms. Helen Endall, and the beautiful cards from the students.
Fr. was a great example of service. He came from the Philippines to Belle Harbor, NY to dedicate his life to preaching to others about God. His very first visit to Belle Harbor was when he was serving our community in 2012 after Superstorm Sandy devastated our parish.
In addition to serving others, Fr. Jomar exemplifies being a leader. Fr. Jomar shows leadership in our parish as a priest and as a role model. Fr. Jomar would wear a costume at Halloween and distribute candy at the rectory with our Pastor, Reverend William F. Sweeney and Associate Pastor Reverend James Cunningham. All the trick-or-treaters loved seeing this trio of priests dressed as the three best friends from the Disney movie “Toy Story”.
He was born and raised in the Philippines. At a young age he heard his calling from God to be a priest. This calling guided Father Jomar throughout his life, including during his ministry at the Bereavement Group at SFDS.
Leadership is so important when serving others in the community and when guiding parishioners in our Catholic faith. Fr. Jomar was able to do this because he was so well educated and was a born teacher. He has a Master’s Degree in Technology and Media from Columbia University and a very strong background in Science. He loved to discuss Science in his homilies and with the students at SFDS.
I am sure that the entire parish of St. Francis de Sales will all miss him terribly and will always remember him.