A New Life in the Priesthood – Thomas Dagle


Rev. Thomas W. Dagle of Murrysville, Pennsylvania, is the son of the late Harold and Florence Dagle. He received a bachelor of science degree in psychology and a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Fairmont State College. He has completed one year of graduate studies in counseling and guidance at West Virginia University. In 2001 he earned the master of divinity degree from Saint Vincent Seminary.

This article is from The Catholic Spirit newspaper of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese.

By Colleen Duncan

WEST VIRGINIA — Father Thomas W. Dagle has begun his new life in the priesthood after answering his true calling.

Father Dagle said he knew in high school that he was called to the priesthood, but did not explore the idea until later in life. He spent the early part of his life completing his education and working. During this time, however, he said that the priesthood was still in his mind.

After high school, father Dagle went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in both business administration and psychology from Fairmont State University. He then worked in Fairmont for 11 years as a job cost analyst until 1994. During the 1980s, he also served as a volunteer manager of the Hope Incorporated Domestic Violence Shelter. Although Father Dagle was enjoying much success at this point in his life, he said he flet that something was missing.

“I was not content with what I was doing,” Father Dagle said. “I just did not feel fulfilled.”

Now at age 45, that fulfillment has come with his new life in the pristhood. Father Dagle was ordained in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston June 1, 2002 by Bishop Bernard W. Schmitt.he said that he believes his time and experiences before becoming a priest will be a positive in his ministry.

“I feel more complete as a person to have experienced what I have experienced,” he said.

Before his ordination, Father Dagle served as a deacon for St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Weirton. He also completed summer placements at St. Leo Parish, Inwood in 1997; Immaculate Conception Parish, Montgomery in 1998; Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Huntington in 1999; and St. Francis de Sales Parish, Beckley in 2000.

During his last year in the seminary, Father Dagle would receive news that would alter his life forever. Late in 2000 while attending St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pa., Father Dagle had discovered a lump on his neck, and then underwent surgery just before Christmas at the Latrobe Area Hospital. On Jan. 10, 2001, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, cancer of the blood.

For the next two and a half months, Father Dagle received treatment as an outpatient while finishing his requirements at the seminary.

Father Dagle’s cancer is now in remission, and he is visiting the hospital every six months for check ups. He said that he is now concentrating on his vocation and the people in his parish.

“As a priest, I will show God through me. I want to show people that He is always present,” Father Dagle said. “I also want to serve people and help them through their problems. I am happy to be serving the people of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, and I will work to help the church grow and become stronger.”