50 years a priest and much gratitude

Priests in archdiocese celebrate ordination anniversaries

Father Michael Kerrigan
Kerrigan, MichaelA Colorado native, Father Michael Kerrigan served as pastor at parishes in the heart of Denver to the Rocky Mountains. He is celebrating his 50-year ordination anniversary in the priesthood.

Since 1966 Father Kerrigan, who was born in Leadville, has been assigned to guide the flock of faithful. He began ministering at Guardian Angels, St. Vincent de Paul and St. Mary in Littleton churches as assistant pastor.

He became pastor of St. Peter and St. Anne churches near Grand Lake until 1979 when he became pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Lafayette. Father Kerrigan strived to grow his congregation in the 1980s to more than 500 families.

He went on to serve at St. Paul Parish in Idaho Springs.

Father Kerrigan earned a bachelor’s degree from Regis College and later a bachelor’s and master’s degree from St. Thomas Seminary (now St. John Vianney Theological Seminary).

Father John P. McGreevy, O.P.
Father McGreevyDominican Father John McGreevy recently entered the 50th year of his priestly ordination. He hails from Iowa where he was born and later studied for his master’s degree at the Dominican House of Theology (now the Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis). He also received a degree from the Dominican House of Studies in River Forest, Ill., and graduated with a second master’s from Fordham University in New York.

Father McGreevy’s ministry began at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Ill., where he taught and served as principal from 1965 to 1979.

He also taught at Providence College in Rhode Island from 1980 to 1995. He began parish ministry at St. Vincent Ferrer in River Forest as pastor and continued at St. Gertrude Church in St. Clair Shores, Mich.

Father McGreevy came to Denver in 2009 and lives at the St. Dominic Priory. He serves as a chaplain at Francis Heights.

“It’s hard to believe 50 years have gone by. They move very quickly,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful life.”

Father John Schlaf
Father Jack John SchlafAfter 41 years of parish ministry in Nebraska, Father John Schlaf came to Colorado to retire. This year is the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination.

Father Schlaf attended Immaculate Conception Seminary in Missouri where he earned his master’s degree in religion in 1964. He was ordained shortly before the Second Vatican Council and witnessed the transformation in the Church.

“I was truly inspired by all of it,” he said. “I really enjoyed working in that spirit of Vatican II.”

His ministry began in Grand Island, Neb., and continued at parishes across the state for 41 years. During that time he also launched two new parishes in western Nebraska. His last parish was in Ogallala, Neb., before he became a chaplain for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia in Kansas.

“I feel so blessed to have the experience of working with so many good Christian communities and good bishops,” he said. “I just have a feeling of a lot of gratitude.”

Father Schlaf came to Fort Collins three years ago to retire. He assists at St. Joseph Parish in Fort Collins.

Father John Waters, S.J.
Waters SJ, John 2007Jesuit Father John Waters has served across the world. Now, as he marks his 50th ordination anniversary, he is residing at the Xavier Jesuit Center in Denver.

He was born in Denver and later went on to study at St. Louis University in Missouri and St. Mary’s College in Kansas before attending the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia.

He immediately went on mission to teach in El Progreso, Honduras. He then served as secretary in Rome for the Jesuit Curia from 1971 to 1975.

Father Waters also went on mission to Belize before his first assignment in Denver as pastor at St. Ignatius Loyola Church.

In the 1980s, he ministered in St. Louis before serving at parishes in Dodge City and Garden City, Kan.

He then became pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Pueblo before returning to Denver.


COMING UP: Colorado bishops issue letter on the Hyde Amendment and other pro-life Congressional policies

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We, the Catholic bishops of Colorado, urge Congressional Representatives to support the Hyde Amendment and the Walden Amendment. We also ask the Faithful to sign The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) petition to lawmakers encouraging them to preserve the Hyde Amendment, which can be accessed at: NoTaxpayerAbortion.com, and to contact their Congressmen and women to support the Hyde and Walden amendments.

The House Appropriations Labor and Health and Human Services subcommittee recently passed a spending bill that strips protections for pre-born children, healthcare providers,and American taxpayers by excluding pro-life provisions, including the Hyde and Weldon amendments.

The Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortion in most cases, except for rape and incest, has received bipartisan support since its inception in 1976 – including by pro-abortion administrations. Hyde is critical in saving lives. The Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates that approximately 60,000 pre-born babies are saved every year because of the Hyde Amendment.[1] This is the first time in 40 years that the Hyde Amendment was not included in the annual appropriations bill[2] and failure to include pro-life amendments will only further increase divisions in our country.

The Weldon Amendment prevents any federal programs, agencies, and state and local governments from discriminating against health care practitioners and institutions that do not provide abortion services. It ensures that pro-life individuals and organizations can enter the health care profession without fearing that the government will force them to perform a procedure that violates their well-founded convictions. It has also received bipartisan support and was added to the appropriations bill every year since it was first enacted in 2005. [3]

Congress’ recent actions endanger the lives of pre-born children and infringe on the rights of millions of Americans who do not wish to participate in the moral evil of abortion. A recent Knights of Columbus/Marist poll found that 58 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions[4] and a 2019 Gallup poll shows that 60 percent of Americans think abortion should either be illegal or only legal in a few circumstances.[5]

The government should neither use taxpayer funds for the killing of pre-born children nor compel medical practitioners and institutions to violate their well-founded convictions. Congress must uphold these long-standing, common-sense bipartisan policies that promote a culture of life in our nation.

Human reason and science affirm that human life begins at conception. The Church objects to abortion on the moral principle that each and every human life has inherent dignity, and thus must be treated with respect due to every human person. There has never been and never will be a legitimate need to abort a baby in the womb.

It is critical that Congress continue its long-history of supporting policies such as the Hyde and Walden amendments, and that all Colorado Catholics and people of good will make their voice heard in supporting these life-affirming policies.

Sign the petition to Congress here: www.NoTaxpayerAbortion.com

Contact your Congressional Representatives here: https://cocatholicconference.org/news/

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila
Archbishop of Denver

Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg
Bishop of Pueblo

Most Reverend James R. Golka
Bishop of Colorado Springs

Most Reverend Jorge Rodriguez
Auxiliary Bishop of Denver