You Will Be My Witnesses: Father Tom Milota ’88

Father Tom Milota ‘88
Diocese of Joliet
St. Petronille (Glen Ellyn, IL)

Why is beauty important?
We’ve very much come out of the Balthasarian understanding that the truth of the Faith is conveyed through beauty in every aspect of our worship: the type of music, the preaching, the homily. We’re not just conveying truths but preaching something that is true, good, and beautiful. We believe that the church is a sacramental, an outward sign treated by Christ to give grace. The building is not simply a meeting hall where a bunch of nice people gather to pray together. The church itself focuses our attention on the Eucharistic celebration and Jesus Christ who is truly present on the altar.

Are architectural styles one-size-fits-all for Catholic churches?
You always want to look back at what the original architect intended to be in accord with the original design. I’m not going to take a Gothic design and try to shove it into a Palladian form. It clashes with everything around it and just doesn’t fit.

Why invest in beauty?
Why are we going to make God live in a shed when we’re living in a house of stone like King David? I think God should have a house that looks nicer than ours. When everything is very clean, beautiful, and of fine quality, it tells us there’s something special going on here: we’re worshipping Almighty God.

How did SJV prepare you for this?
I still use what I learned from the philosophy department every day. When I put together homilies, make decisions in the parish, how to speak to others, I go back to my philosophy training and the people I encountered there, especially Dr. Richard Connell, Dr. Thomas Sullivan, Fr. James Stromberg, Msgr. Henri Du Lac, and Fr. James Reidy. I’ve been a priest for 31 years. The spiritual life fostered there, personal time of prayer, devotion to the Eucharist, group of us that prayed Evening Prayer and a Rosary together every evening, all of these things were invaluable.

Before (Photo by Sound Planning)
After (Rendering by Conrad Schmitt)
Scroll to Top