Father Thomas L. Albers C.PP.S., 78, a priest of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood who served in the Jefferson City diocese as pastor of parishes in Sedalia, Bahner, Warsaw and Cole Camp, died on Sept. 30 in Lima, Ohio, following a lengthy illness.
The Mass of Christian Burial was to be celebrated on Oct. 4 in the Assumption Chapel at St. Charles Center in Celina, Ohio, with Precious Blood Father Joseph Nassal, provincial director of the society’s Kansas City Province, presiding.
Fr. Albers was born on May 4, 1940 in Minster, Ohio to Leo and Onnolee (Makley) Albers and baptized the next day at St. Augustine parish in Minster. Following eighth grade, he entered the Society of the Precious Blood upon enrollment at Brunnerdale Seminary in Canton, Ohio, in September 1954.
On June 3, 1967, in the chapel of St. Charles Seminary in Carthagena, Ohio, Bishop Edward McCarthy, now deceased, ordained him to the Holy Priesthood.
He became a certified mental-health chaplain and spent 15 years ministering in hospitals in Illinois and Washington, D.C., serving in 1983 as president of the National Catholic Hospital Chaplains Association.
In Chicago, he lived in an inner-city neighborhood, where members of a street gang regularly met on his rectory porch.
One summer, he served as a chaplain at the Marion Federal Penitentiary in Marion, Ill., where the residents of Alcatraz were sent when “The Rock” closed.
“It’s a very frightening place,” he recalled in 2007. “But over the course of that summer, I learned that even in the most extreme situations, people are people. They have the same reactions to things, the same kind of feelings that we all experience. They respond to situations generally with a positive outlook. And they are worthy of respect and love. Every person is precious in God’s eyes, and we are not to exclude anyone.”
He said his most challenging position was not in a prison, hospital or parish but as director of college formation for the Precious Blood House of Formation in Kansas City for three years in the 1980s.
In 1987, he was elected provincial director of the Kansas City Province of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, serving for eight years.
As provincial, he worked with Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe of Jefferson City, now deceased, and the priests and parishioners in Sedalia to promote ever-further ministerial collaboration among that city’s Sacred Heart and St. Patrick parishes.
“We had in mind that it would be a good idea to have programs in common and that more and more, the two parishes should collaborate in their ministries,” he recalled in 2007.
He then served as pastor of St. Patrick parish in Sedalia from 1995-2000, then as pastor of Sacred Heart and St. Patrick parishes in Sedalia and of St. John the Evangelist parish in Bahner from 2000-06.
He was appointed pastor of St. Ann parish in Warsaw and Ss. Peter and Paul parish in Cole Camp from 2006-2007.
He later ministered in Liberty, then in Nevada, both in Missouri, until retiring in 2013 to St. Charles Center in Carthagena, Ohio.
Surviving is a sister, Janet Huelskamp of Georgetown, Texas; three nieces, Kay (Randy) Overholser, Chris (John) Rainbolt, and Susan Longley; and a large family of Precious Blood Missionaries and Companions.
Preceding him in death were his parents.