Fr. Thomas Coughlin, OP Miss
Fr. Thomas Coughlin
Fr. Thomas Coughlin was born deaf in Malone, New York (near the Quebec border) on May 22, 1947; attended the Rochester School for the Deaf and obtained High School diploma from the St. Mary School for the Deaf in Buffalo, NY. He graduated with BA degree in English from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C, in 1972 and obtained M.A. degree in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America in 1976. He was ordained as a first deaf priest in North America in 1977 by Cardinal Lawrence Shehan of Baltimore. After working four years as a home missionary priest for the International Catholic Deaf Association, Fr. Coughlin raised funds and purchased a bankrupt resort hotel on 4th Lake in Old Forge, New York in the fall of 1981 and converted it into Camp Mark Seven, a thriving Catholic deaf youth and adult program. In 1987, he was transferred to Honolulu Diocese and worked as a chaplain for the deaf. While in Honolulu, he obtained a nursing degree.
In 1996, Cardinal O'Connor of New York archdiocese invited Fr. Coughlin to set up a House of Studies for Deaf Seminarians in Yonkers, NY. A total of 14 deaf and hearing men entered the formation program. In 2002, following the death of Cardinal O'Connor, the program was transferred to the Archdiocese of San Francisco under the auspice of Archbishop Levada. Father Coughlin was given an assignment as the pastor of St. Benedict's Parish for the Deaf in San Francisco.
In the spring of 2004, Bishop Allen Vigneron of Oakland Diocese erected the deaf community as a Private Association of the Faithful, one of the first steps leading to the formation of a religious institute, namely: Dominican Missionaries for the Deaf Apostolate.