Father Tom Coyte is the Pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Thornton, Colorado. Father Coyte has been a priest for thirty-five years and has served at Holy Cross for the last twenty. Father Coyte has been involved with deaf ministry since he was in the seminary. Holy Cross has over 2,000 members, 250 of which are part of the deaf community.
Q. What advice would you give someone just starting his or her spiritual path?
A: I wouldn’t automatically hand someone a rosary and tell them to pray. I would try to really listen and get to know who they are. We are all so delightfully unique. I’ll share a story that comes to mind. I had a man who was a Buddhist, but had grown up Catholic, come to me wanting to get back to the church and communion. I asked him why. After a lengthy discussion, it turned out it was because of his mother. That’s not a reason to do it. He was very happy as a Buddhist. And now he is a good friend. But he is not Catholic.
Q. What do you think of the concept that my enemy is my lover?
A: When I saw the movie, The Secret, I thought it was total selfishness. It was like what you see in television advertisements. Get the money or the woman. Jesus was wise in saying that kind of stuff is false joy. Real joy is loving your enemies. That type of sacrificial love is what Christianity and Catholicism offer.
Q. Anything else?
A: Don’t just take what society offers in terms of religious or spiritual teachings because there is a lot of junk out there. You can spend too much time watching television evangelists who have to preach something that puts enough money in the collection plate to keep going. This includes our dear Mother Angelica on EWTN. So be cautious about what’s good and what’s not. One of the things that is very big in America is fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is about power and control, not about belief and authentic worship. And whether that fundamentalism is Bible or church based, it’s still about power and control and it’s still not healthy. You might want to ask fundamentalists you interview, “Where is the darkness? Where is your greatest sorrow and anxiety?”
For the rest of the interview, please check out the book, Seek The Lover Within: Lessons from 50 Spiritual Leaders.