Fr. Michael Lydon was born in St. Petersburg, Florida on August 28, 1947. Father was the oldest of the six children of Ray and Virginia Lydon. He attended St. Jude’s Elementary School and graduated from Bishop Barry High School (now St. Petersburg Catholic) in June of 1965.
Fr. Mike entered St. John Vianney Seminary the following September. For the first two years of college, he took a leave to study at St. Petersburg Junior College, and then finished college at St. Mary’s Seminary in Kentucky. He then entered St. Vincent de Paul Major Seminary in Boynton Beach and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop McLaughlin on May 18, 1974.
Fr. Mike was the first native born priest ordained from the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Fr. Mike’s first assignment as associate pastor was at St. Patrick’s Church in Tampa with Father Earner as Pastor. From there he served at St. Pauls in St. Petersburg and St. John Vianney in St. Petersburg Beach. During these assignments Fr. Mike also served for eight years as Diocesan Director of Youth Ministry. He served as Pastoral Administrator at St. Cecelia’s Parish in Fort Myers for eight months until the Diocese was split and then moved to Temple Terrace and became pastor of Corpus Christi Church.
His next assignment was to start a parish in Largo. He established St. Justin Martyr and for eleven years he shaped its growth until his most recent assignment to St. Thomas Aquinas in New Port Richey where he celebrated his 25th anniversary of Priesthood.
Fr. Mike enjoys singing and playing the guitar, camping, travel and kayaking. Fr. Earner had a little prayer attached to the mirror in the sacristy at St. Patrick’s which read “Remember priest, to say this Mass as if it were your first for it may be your last. This little prayer guides him still.
Father George P. Varkey is a member of the Missionary Society of St. Thomas the Apostle (MST), established in 1968 in Kerala, which is in the southwest of India. He was ordained on April 17, 1990 in his home parish of St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church. Fr. Sebastian, the current pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace in New Port Richey and Fr. Matthew, the parochial vicar of St. Ignatius in Tarpon Springs, are of the same order.
Fr. George is the third child of a small family of four children. His father has been called to eternal rest and his mother lives with his brother. Just after his ordination he was sent to the missions.
Later he was appointed as the vocation promotor and professor in the seminary. After five years he was sent for his post graduate degree of Masters in Social Work (MSW) and he later completed Youth Ministry training.
Soon after his studies were completed, he took charge as a pastor. And later, he was again sent back to the misions as Mission Councilor for five years. As he finished his term he was elected as the General Councilor where he was in charge of seminary formation and Priest Welfare. During this time he also served as the Director of the Office of Regional Vocation Promotion under the Catholic Bishops Conference. Before leaving India for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Fr. George served as the rector of the minor seminary for his order. We are truly blessed to have him as part of our parish family!
Deacon Mel Dunphy was born and brought up in Vermont. He graduated from Waterbury High School in Vermont. He attended Boston University prior to enlisting in the United States Navy for four years during the Korean War. Later he served seven years as a medical officer in the United States Army Reserve. He received a B.S. degree from the University of Vermont and a M.S. degree from Stetson University.
He began his career in education as an elementary school principal in Vermont. He later taught secondary school and college mathematics in Massachusetts and served as a secondary school principal in Massachusetts and later in Vermont. He studied for the permanent diaconate in the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts and was ordained there by Bishop Harrington in 1979. His first assignment was at Immaculate Heart Church in Winchendon, Massachusetts where Father Pelletier was his first pastor. He then served seven years in the Diocese of Burlington, Vermontand has been serving at St. Thomas Aquinas since 1994.
Deacon Mel and his wife Shirley, now deceased, are parents of eight children and fourteen grandchildren. He has baptized most of his grandchildren. He finds much reward and many blessings from serving the Lord and the people of this parish. It is his pleasure to serve us.