Why the Title “Where Have You Gone, Thomas Groome?”

I had to chuckle at the follow-up email I received from Dr. Thomas Groome, asking why I chose to title my post, “Where Have You Gone, Thomas Groome?” I can understand why he might take exception to that title since he is still very much on the scene!

NYC - Bronx: Yankee Stadium - Monument Park - Retired Numbers - Joe DiMaggio #5The truth is, the title was intended to be provocative (you know how we bloggers are always trying to capture attention!) The question, “where have you gone, Thomas Groome?” is intended to conjure up the memory of the line from Simon and Garfunkel’s hit song “Mrs. Robinson” – “where have you gone, Joe Dimaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.”

Interestingly enough, the story goes that Joe Dimaggio was at first upset by that line since, at the time, he too had not “gone away.” Later, however, he met Paul Simon who explained that the line was intended as a tribute, lamenting that what Joe Dimaggio stood for (integrity, a classy hero, not just a flashy celebrity) was precisely what the country needed and was hopelessly slipping away.

In the same way, my choice of that title is intended as a tribute to the man who taught so many of us about the catechetical process and as a lament that what he stands for (a strong connection between faith and lived experience) is still needed in our Church and is in danger of being cast aside.

Sorry, Tom, if my choice of words rankled you! I can understand why! 🙂

[photo:  Wally Gobetz via Compfight]

About Joe Paprocki 2219 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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