Fr. Thomas Long, CSV, celebrated 60 years of religious life this year and among his many roles in ministry was serving as the founding pastor of St. Thomas More Catholic Community in Henderson, NV. He reflects on the Viatorian roots of this parish in the latest podcast episode of Viatorian Voices: Conversations Along the Way.

“It was a challenge, but I was interested,” Fr. Long says. “At the time it was raw desert, there was nothing there.”

Right from the start, the collaboration between Viatorians and lay people was the foundation of the parish.

“We started with 34 families, and in the nine years I was there we grew to 1,300 families, and now it’s more than 6,000 families,” Fr. Long says. “It was a privilege to be the founding pastor. It was sad to turn the parish over to the diocese, but Viatorians saw there was a need. We went in and put the stamp of the Viatorian charism, and then it was time to move on.”

Hear more about the roots of this sprawling parish, including from longtime parishioner and Viatorian Associate Juliann Dwyer, who reflects on the early years meeting in a mortuary chapel, and Br. John Eustice, CSV, who grew up in the parish.