Brandon Vogt

[Video] Incredible Story: Friend of Fulton Sheen, Alcoholic, Priest of Mercy

A few months back, I wrote about the death of one of my closest friends, Fr. Ed Thompson. He passed away in February at 92 years old, the oldest active priest in the Diocese of Orlando.

He was a spiritual giant with a massive legacy. He served for over 20 years at our parish, St. Mary Magdalen in Altamonte Springs, FL, and was extremely close to our family: he married me and Kathleen, baptized our children, and served as my confessor ever since I became Catholic in 2008. He and I met weekly for instruction, prayer, and spiritual conversation. We spent hundreds of hours together over the past decade.

All who met Fr. Ed were struck by his deep faith and mercy. But few knew his whole story.

Shortly before he died, Fr. Ed allowed me to capture that remarkable story on video. He shared many things that he had only revealed to a few people during his life, including:

  • Why his mother was advised to abort him and his twin brother, David, but chose not to despite guaranteed suffering
  • Why he became a priest even though his parents and pastor discouraged him
  • His mother’s miraculous recovery from arthritis the day he went off to seminary
  • His experiences meeting Fulton Sheen and the time Sheen borrowed one of his jokes!
  • His harrowing battle with alcoholism, which got him kicked out of the priesthood
  • The inexplicable phone call from a person he hadn’t spoken to in 30 years that turned his life around
  • The one lesson he wanted to impart after 60+ years of being a Catholic priest

I know we live in a YouTube generation where 2-3 minute videos are the norm. But carve out twenty minutes today or tonight and listen to this magnificent story. It’s worth it. It will lift your heart. You’ll be inspired, filled with hope, and you’ll struggle to hold back tears (I know I did.)

Watch video →

(If you’re reading this via email and don’t see the video, click here.)

PS. Thanks to the amazing Sean Beeson for composing such a great musical score for the video! What a gift you are.

  • Matthew Townsend

    One cannot be “kicked out” of the priesthood. Their faculties can only be taken away. One is always a priest.

  • Chris Barry

    This is beautiful! As a daughter of an alcoholic father, he too struggled and the last 40 years of his life was sober! God helped him every day. My Dad died 2 1/2 years ago at 94. My Mother who is still with us at 90 was the real living saint, she misses him every day! God bless them both!

  • teton99

    When did his brother die? Is he still alive? What is his story?

  • Colm Bradley

    Such a great and wonderful life and one which emphasis why we must pray for our priests. God bless you Fr. Ed, may eternal rest shine on you and may you soul rest in peace Amen.

  • Jack Clough

    A beautiful story!

    • Martin Costga

      I am so thankful to God. I am a Fulten Sheen Fan, I love his talks. But this noble character with his deep love and belief in the Holy Eucharist spoke to me while listening to his video story. I am a victim of a habitual sin only know to me and my confessor, Of course God. His story became a model to me to keep trying never giving up for the Love of Jesus cannot separate me under any circumstances. May his soul rest in peace and be honoured one day among the saints on earth.

  • agustín estrada

    ONLY God knows how much and deep suffered this brother priest; ONLY God knows how much he endured in silence. Blessed are the priests who helped him and welcomed him; blessed are the bishops who had mercy on him and his priesthood! I hope and pray that God has received him, and has rewarded his perseverance!!

  • Greg

    OMGosh! I knew Fr Ed … In those days, Msgr Ed, back in the early 1980’s. He was a priest of Reno-Las Vegas at that time, but we were both living in Washington, DC. An absolutely wonderful man! Kind, generous, caring, accepting, wise, funny, … I became a better person for knowing and living with him. Sadly I had lost track of Father Ed, and then today this beautiful video, wow! It puts the “happily ever after,” on his life story. Trusting in the Resurrection, I live now in the hope of personally seeing Fr Ed again….

  • Rena

    What a touching and beautiful sharing by Father Ed! My prayers to all those grieving his passing!

  • Lynn

    Wish the music wasn’t there. Makes it impossible to concentrate on what he is saying.

  • Julie

    Beautiful way to start my day. Thank you for sharing this inspiring holy story.

  • Cam

    Great Story Brandon. Thanks for doing this video.

  • Jules Ooi Salapirom

    Its a great great PITY, the background music is too loud, Its covering the voice of Fr. Ed Thompson.

  • Proud mother and friend

    WOW—- very very moving—-Thank God!!!!!!

  • Sr. Mary Brigid

    That was truly a blessing to watch, every minute of it. Thank you for sharing it, Brandon!

  • lasseheimdal

    Great message only disturbed by too loud background music…

  • kap65

    Wow…truly beautiful!

  • SirDelaCruz

    Thank you so much for sharing this Brandon. Another wise reminder that Our Lord seeks us and desires so greatly that we seek him. The plan for redemption here on Earth, even that of a holy priest is never as certain as we would like, but in the end if we permit it, God will leads us down the most sure path to redemption.

    Vivat Jesu!

    • AmaniEL

      Thanks, Brandon, for sharing this deeply moving story about Fr. Ed Thompson–Eternal life grant unto Fr. Ed Thompson Lord, your holy priest servant for 60+ years. Let perpetual light shine on him, and may he rest in peace! Amen.

      I will let my oldest son (Kidane), who is thinking about becoming a priest, watch the video.

      God bless you!


  • Ana Alcantara

    Thank you so much for sharing this story to us, it’s beautiful to see how God works in so many ways, and through others.
    I am so grateful to be Catholic and have Jesus in the Holy Eucarist and have holy and devoted priests in our church.

  • Maria Ribando Burmaster

    Thank you for sharing. There is hope!

  • theresa

    Thank you for sharing your friend with us. What a beautiful presentation of a life so real with such hardships but overcome by the grace of God and acceptance.

  • Very touching. I am blessed to have seen that. Rest in peace, Father. You are a priest forever.

  • Gail Buckley

    Wow! I cried Brandon. What a wonderful testimony.

  • Tom

    Stupendous. Simple. Real. Thank you, Brandon.

  • Simply beautiful!

  • Carolyn Riccio Thanel

    So happy to have viewed this! Glad he was reinstated to the priesthood. God bless our faithful priests. May you rest in the living arms of Jesus. Please pray for us.

  • María D. Abalo

    Thank you for sending this video. The Lord bless you with privilege of knowing him.

  • HAWK1947


  • jack canatsey

    He was a saint to us and our family. They could canonize him anytime! he will always be SMM’s saint-in-residence.

  • Roger Gospodinoff

    My wife, my children, and I spent a few years in Altamonte Springs. I loved Fr. Ed. He was so pure in doctrine and he exuded humble holiness. Hearing him speak set my soul at ease like nothing else. He was also so merciful to me, a sinner, in confession. He will forever be appreciated. I have never met a priest who was his equal.

  • johnnysc


    About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they’re just one thing, and we shouldn’t complicate the matter. – St. Joan of Arc

    Rest in peace Father.

  • danno2281

    Sometimes the music overpowers the speech.

  • J Balconi

    Is there a music-less version of this? I sometimes have difficulty discerning his voice from the background.

  • Maria Rocco

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Deeply beautiful. May God Bless and Hold his soul, forever.

  • Anthony

    I was moved by his eloquence and complete belief in the faith. I was moved to tears. I pray that I may have that strength of faith. May he rest in peace.

  • Lifelong learner

    Beautiful testimony! So happy he was able to find peace. What a blessing, and will pray for his soul.

© 2019 Brandon Vogt