Father Patrick Tuttle, of Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, welcomes you
You just want to hug Father Patrick Tuttle. You can’t help it, the man is a living, breathing tractor beam. Maybe it’s his smile, broad and disarming, or perhaps it’s the robe or rope belt, knotted three times to signify the vows taken by all friars. Or maybe it’s his hands, large and powerful, as if carved from granite, gently spreading open as he welcomes you to St. Anthony’s. But then you realize it’s the eyes, the way they’re looking at you, with nary a hint of suspicion or judgment, just sparkling pools filled with kindness and joy. They’re the eyes of a child reaching for his mother, or of a mutt welcoming home its master.
“Nobody puts a friar on a pedestal,” says Father Tuttle, who has served at St. Anthony’s since 2005. “We’re never going to be that kind of clergy that you shudder in front of. We are basically straight up. We’re going to be much more like your brother who is a poor slob and is really trying hard to do what is right. And we’re so grateful that the Lord has decided to favor us while we are in sin. That gladness and gratitude shows up in the work that we do.”
Young Patrick Tuttle had other plans for his future. “I wanted to be Glen Campbell when I was a boy, and then I wanted to be an Air Force pilot when I was a teenager,” he says. But the college Tuttle attended in New York employed 36 friars, and he was taken in by their humor and good works. “Their style of being Christian is very informal,” he says. “It’s filled with humor and has a real punch. You either get punched in the head because you’re too cocky, or you get punched in the gut because you didn’t love enough.” Asked about the three vows, Father Tuttle explains they are poverty, chastity, and obedience. “We affectionately call them no money, no honey, and do what you’re told.”
St. Anthony’s and Father Tuttle have a long history of good works in the community, from supplying dentures and groceries, to helping families secure affordable housing. Many of the area’s less fortunate stop by the church throughout the day for food, clothing, and an encouraging word. “My favorite piece of scripture is Matthew 25, the judgment of the nations,” says Father Tuttle. “‘Whenever you did this to the least of my sisters and brothers, you did this to me.’ He equated himself with them so if you wanted to see Him or get to know Him, you would go to them, and that’s how you would find Him. The doorbell at St. Anthony’s rings all day long. We open the door, and for us there’s His face. It’s fascinating when we look at them like that. They feel respected here. That’s just how the Lord wants it.”
That’s when you realize what is so special about Father Tuttle’s eyes. No matter where they look, they see God.