He is a dear friend and one who sealed the deal for me after I became Catholic by taking a personal interest in me, in my faith, in my struggles. It was with his encouragement and guidance that I began thinking about my vocation. He was more confident than I was that I actually had one. I explored the possibility of becoming a Dominican friar. He put me in touch with Fr. Anthony Rosevear, who was then the Western Dominican Province vocations director. Fr. Anthony helped me with my discernment. With Fr. Kraft's encouragement, I spent time at St. Albert's in Oakland, the Dominican house of formation, at the beginning of new novice class. I was not a novice, just an observer.
He witnessed our marriage and baptized our oldest son before going off to the Dominican mission in Mexicali, where he labored fruitfully for quite a few years. I commend him to your prayers as he continues his courageous struggle against cancer. His serenity, his humble trust in the goodness of God as shown forth in Jesus Christ, especially in the Eucharist, and his friendship with Sts. Dominic, Catherine of Siena, Francis, and Clare, is so beautiful.
On a related note, I cannot recommend too highly Fred's review of Frank Schaeffer's autobiography, Crazy for God. I was struck by a number of things that Fred wrote, but in a particular way by these words because they explain better than I am able the remarkable witness of Fr. Tom and others: "we should not act as if Christian ideas can save us from the sufferings and trials of human existence. This approach [is] triumphalist, dualistic, and reductionist". This way of looking at things is the ultimate abstraction. It is a lie about reality, about our experience. If our Lord himself was honest in these matters, not just in words, but in what he experienced, how can we justify not being honest? Such dishonesty is a betrayal of Christ and a denial of ourselves.
Hoping not to sound too trite or sentimental, I am thankful to Fr. Tom for showing me this truth by the honesty of his witness, by the way he bears his suffering and pain caused by cancer.