COLORADO SPRINGS. For years, Bishop Michael Sheridan has been a part of the bestowing of St. Mary’s High School’s Marian Award. The award has traditionally been presented after Mass on All Saints’ Day. This year, however, Bishop Sheridan himself will receive the award on Dec. 7 after the annual Grandparents Mass.
The Marian Award, which has been given annually since 2001, is presented by the St. Mary’s High School Board of Directors in recognition of unselfish service to others and outstanding contributions to the community.
The members of the St. Mary’s community who are fortunate enough to know Bishop Michael Sheridan also know that one thing sure to make him uncomfortable is to list his many accomplishments. We certainly don’t want to embarrass our shepherd, but we would be remiss if we did not relate some of the things in the background of his selection as the 2018 recipient of the Marian Award.
Born and raised in St. Louis, Mo., the bishop attended Catholic schools throughout his life. He graduated from St. Louis University High School, attended Rockhurst College in Kansas City, Mo., then entered Cardinal Glennon College Seminary in St. Louis, where he graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy. He then went on to study at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis. He was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal John Carberry in 1971, having earned a master of divinity degree. He earned a master’s in historical theology from St. Louis University, then attended the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome, where he earned a license and doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.Th.L./S.Th.D.).
Bishop Sheridan served the Archdiocese of St. Louis as an associate pastor and pastor in several parishes until 1997, when Archbishop Justin Rigali ordained him as an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese. In 2003, he became the bishop of the Diocese of Colorado Springs.
He is a well-respected teacher of the faith and has taught theology on the high school, college and graduate levels, including 10 years as a professor of systematic theology at Kenrick Seminary. He served on several committees for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, including the Committee on Catholic Education. His commitment to the cause of life is practically peerless; and he is known across the country for his tireless defense of the unborn, the old, the infirm, and all of those whose lives are threatened by the culture of death.
Bishop Sheridan has been equally unflagging in his support for St. Mary’s High School during his tenure as diocesan bishop. His support for the school is strong and is felt in and seen in a number of important ways.
Most recently, Bishop Sheridan included St. Mary’s as a future recipient of tuition assistance funds from the ongoing diocesan capital campaign, “Building for the Future” (www.buildingforthefuture.org). As an independent Catholic high school, St. Mary’s is grateful for his generosity and for continuing to approve of, and advocate for, the school’s Catholic identity.
Another visible and vital means of support provided by our shepherd is through the presence of three diocesan priests at St. Mary’s. Father Joe Dygert teaches both sophomore and junior theology. Father Brian Roeseler is the school chaplain and can be seen in the school celebrating Mass, hearing confessions, and supporting a myriad of other school activities. Father Kyle Ingels serves on the school’s board of directors, where his skills as the diocesan Director of Campus Ministry are invaluable.
Perhaps the most important and visible element of Bishop Sheridan’s support for St. Mary’s High School is when he is physically present in the school. It is unlikely that any independent Catholic High School has as much ready access to their bishop as St. Mary’s has with Bishop Sheridan. Whether it is saying Mass in the school, or meeting with students and alums, or simply offering a word of encouragement, we can see and feel our shepherd’s support for the faith, knowledge and community missions of St. Mary’s.
Because of Bishop Sheridan’s strong support of our school, and because of his lifetime of committed service to the larger community, we are honored to acknowledge Bishop Michael Sheridan as the 2018 recipient of the St. Mary’s High School Marian Award.
(Amy G. Partain is director of communications for St. Mary’s High School.)