Father Thomas Dufner is the oldest of eight children born to Kenneth and Therese Dufner. Father Dufner was raised in St. Paul and attended Catholic school at Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Maplewood. He continued his education at North High in North St. Paul and graduated from college at the University of Minnesota. His family attended St. Agnes Church in St. Paul in the 1970s and ’80s, providing him a solid foundation and support for his faith.
One of Father Dufner’s greatest joys has been the variety of jobs he worked in his youth. In addition to being a busboy and security guard, he worked in a grocery store, in a garage on garbage trucks and at the University of Minnesota in the miscellaneous repair shop learning to complete different tasks with highly talented workers. He also “iced” potatoes for the Milwaukee Road railroad, shoving ice off towers into bins on the ends of railroad cars before the era of refrigeration.
Father Dufner attended the St. Paul Seminary from 1979 to 1983, when he was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He has served at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, St. Raphael in Crystal and St. Nicholas in New Market. He also served as pastor of Holy Family in St. Louis Park from 1995 to 2012, and he is the current pastor of Epiphany in Coon Rapids.
Father Dufner is known for his commitment to the unborn. Every week since 1992, he has been leading prayers next to the Robbinsdale abortion clinic. No matter the weather, he is there for the babies and mothers, and to be present at what he calls “the new Calvary.” He is also part of the Marriage Initiative, speaking throughout the archdiocese.