Deacon Thomas Schrage, who served as a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Rochester for nearly a quarter-century, died Jan. 31, 2020, at Highland Hospital in Rochester. He was 65 years old.
Deacon Schrage was a native of Elmira. He was ordained to the permanent diaconate on June 8, 1996, by Bishop Matthew H. Clark. His chaplaincies and ministerial assignments included: the Diocese of Rochester’s Parish Support Ministries office (1996-97); SUNY Brockport’s Newman Center and Monroe County Jail (1997-98); St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Greece (1998-2000 and 2003-09); St. Joseph Church in Warren, Pa. (2000-02); Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Brockport (2010-on); Mid-State Correctional Facility in Marcy, N.Y. (2013-14); and Orleans Men’s Correctional Facility in Albion (2014-on).
Deacon Paul Virgilio noted that Deacon Schrage was a close friend for many years; both were longtime members of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and were ministering there at the time of Deacon Schrage’s death.
“He was one of the inspirations who got me directed toward applying for the diaconate,” said Deacon Virgilio, who was ordained in 2006.
Deacon Virgilio added that Deacon Schrage “was a real fun person to be around. When I was with him, we usually had belly laughs that didn’t stop.” In addition, Deacon Virgilio said, “He never ministered from above — he ministered from eye level. Tom was not a real pomp-and-circumstance kind of guy. He was just a regular, everyday person.”
Deacon Schrage is survived by his wife, Barbara; children, Beth (Kevin) Mitchell, Matthew (Lindsay) Schrage and Peter (Kristin) Schrage; nine grandchildren; brother, Michael (Nancy); sisters, Patricia (Richard) Telech and Sandra (Robert) Malnoske; and nieces and nephews.
Calling hours for Deacon Schrage will be Tuesday, Feb. 4, and Wednesday Feb. 5, from 3 to 6 p.m. each day at Fowler Funeral Home, 340 West Ave., Brockport. Deacon Schrage’s funeral Mass will take place Thursday Feb. 6, at 10 a.m. at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, 152 Main St., Brockport. A private interment will take place in the spring.
Donations in Deacon Schrage’s memory may be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104, or the Nativity Parish Center Building Fund, Church of Nativity, 152 Main St., Brockport, NY 14420.