Tom McGrath Retires from Loyola Press
Loyola Press has announced that Tom McGrath will be retiring after over 40 years working in the Catholic press, the past 20 associated with Loyola Press. Tom became a Loyola Press author in 1999 and a member of the board in 2002. He joined the company as a full-time employee in 2005. Since that time, McGrath has served as Vice President of Product Development (Curriculum and Trade), Director of Trade Editorial, and most recently as Director of Mission and Identity. McGrath’s last day with the Press will be August 2, 2019.
Tom’s connections to Loyola Press, however, extend back much further than the 2000s—his first experience with Loyola Press was in 1959. As Tom recalls, “I was in third grade when I was handed a copy of Voyages in English by Miss Schmidt and discovered that as confused as I was doing ’arithmetic,’ I actually liked grammar. I got it, and it gave me great delight to learn the rules that explained what I already sensed in my gut. How fortunate I was to have six solid years of writing practice, grammar quizzes, and, best of all, diagramming sentences in my years at St. Symphorosa and her Seven Sons Catholic school. To this day, I diagram St. Paul’s sentences (no easy task!) when I prepare to serve as lector at my parish.
“Speed forward to late 1998 when I got a call from LaVonne Neff who was wondering if she could take me to lunch at Marshall Field’s Walnut Room to talk about possibly writing a book for Loyola Press. ‘Heck yeah!’ I thought. That put my relationship with Loyola Press on a personal basis, and soon I met Terry Locke, Vinita Wright, Jim Manney, Joe Durepos and many other wonderful people. I’ll never forget the night Loyola Press sponsored a book launch party at Logos Bookstore in Oak Park for Raising Faith-Filled Kids and so many family and friends, book shoppers, and Loyola Press staff came by to get their books signed. That experience put Loyola Press forever in a warm spot in my heart.”
Tom began his career in Catholic publishing in 1977 when he joined the staff of U.S. Catholic/Claretian Publications as PR specialist responsible for publicizing the magazine. In his 24 years working with and for the Claretian Missionary Fathers, Tom rose through the ranks, eventually becoming Executive Editor responsible for all aspects of the Publishing operation. In 2002, Tom and two esteemed former colleagues set out on their own to form TrueQuest Communications, which began as an editorial/publishing services agency whose clients included the National Religious Vocations Council and Loyola Press.
While at Loyola Press, Tom oversaw the development of many bestselling and award-winning trade and curriculum titles including the New York Times Bestseller Dear Pope Francis and Sharing the Wisdom of Time by Pope Francis and Friends; The Catechist Toolbox Series by Joe Paprocki D.Min; the God’s Gift Sacramental Preparation Program, English and Bilingual Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts, Grades K through 8; Adaptive Finding God for children with Special Needs, and of course, Voyages in English.
Always seeking to forward the mission of the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus, Tom was instrumental in publishing some of the greatest Jesuit authors of our time, including Fr. William Barry SJ, Fr. David Fleming SJ, Fr. James Martin SJ, Fr. Joseph Tetlow SJ, Fr. Mark Thibodeaux SJ, Fr. Antonio Spadaro SJ, and Pope Francis himself.
In addition to these esteemed Jesuits, Tom has published the words of notable figures including Sister Elizabeth Johnson, Daniel Berrigan SJ, Fr. Raymond E. Brown, Fr. Andrew Greeley, Virgil Elizondo, Kathleen Chesto, Fr. Donald Senior, Dolores Curran, Brian Swimme, Sr. Thea Bowman, Elie Weisel, Martin E. Marty, Fr. James Cone, Jack Shea, and Richard Rohr OFM. Tom has been a frequent speaker and presenter throughout the United States, sharing his stories, wisdom, and love for the Church in venues large and small, including at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.
McGrath said in a statement, “The two greatest gifts of working at Loyola Press have been the people I’ve encountered in my time here—authors and co-workers as well as the people we aim to serve—and being exposed to Ignatian spirituality, a spirituality that is perfect for our times. I come away feeling overwhelmingly blessed and with a grateful heart.”
Joellyn Cicciarelli, President and Publisher of Loyola Press, said of McGrath in a statement, “In his many years and roles at Loyola Press and in Catholic publishing at large, I have witnessed how Tom has had a profoundly positive effect on thousands of lives. Tom has a gift—he can connect with others in-person and in writing in ways that open them up to seek a deeper connection with God and to the Church and to be more intentional, more kind, and more loving. To me, those are the measures of success in this business—and for that reason, I view Tom as one of the most successful people I know. We wish him well and are grateful he promises to make time to write for Loyola Press now and then. We will miss him.”