Faithful Pastor - Diocese says final farewell to Bishop Emeritus Michael Sheridan
By Veronica Ambuul
COLORADO SPRINGS. Prelates from around the country paid tribute to Bishop Emeritus Michael Sheridan as local Catholics mourned the late bishop during vigil and funeral liturgies held Oct. 6 and 7. Bishop Sheridan died of cancer Sept. 27 at age 77.
“The death of Bishop Sheridan has touched me much more deeply than I thought it might, especially going around the diocese these last several days and seeing how his death affects all of you,” said Bishop James Golka during his homily for the vigil on Oct. 6 at St. Mary’s Cathedral. “He didn’t do anything but be a bishop his entire time here (in Colorado Springs). He didn’t take a day off; he didn’t have any hobbies other than caring for all of you.”
During the vigil, Bishop Golka also read messages of condolence from Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Cardinal Justin Rigali, the former head of Bishop Sheridan’s home archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri.
“As with all of you, I was very saddened to hear of the death of Bishop Sheridan, one of the several priests who I had the great privilege of ordaining a bishop — a strong yet gentle pastor of souls, a great teacher of the faith, a faithful follower of Christ,” Cardinal Rigali wrote. “Unable as I am to be there, I accompany you as we offer prayer to God for him — thanking God for the life and ministry of Bishop Sheridan, and asking God that he be received into his company, and that of all who have gone before him.”
Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver was the principal celebrant for the funeral Mass on Oct. 7 at Holy Apostles Church. Father Larry Brennan, a retired priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis who previously served as director of diaconate formation under Bishop Sheridan, delivered the homily.
“He was a friend and one who certainly lived his faith, one who was deeply committed to Christ and to the faithful that he served in the Church of Colorado Springs,” Archbishop Aquila said in his closing remarks. “He had a deep affection for all of you . . . It was wonderful being able to work with him. Know of our continued prayers for all of you, that the Lord will continue to console you and give you a deeper faith in the gift of eternal life that he promises to all of us.”
“I first met Bishop Sheridan when he was a newly-ordained priest assigned to my home parish in Florissant, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. He was a friendly man and he did admirable parish work. He was always a superb and lucid preacher,” said Father Brennan. “Some years after his first assignment, after he had returned from his doctoral studies in Rome, he was assigned to Kenrick Seminary (in the Archdiocese of St. Louis) as an instructor. I encountered him there again as I prepared for my own doctoral studies in Rome, and he was full of stories and helpful advice.
“Then some years later, he invited me to come to Colorado Springs to assist him, and I was happy to do so. He was a good friend and I miss him dearly.”