Irish native Father Walsh served his priesthood in Denver
Michael A. Walsh, a longtime Archdiocese of Denver priest who served as pastor at the parishes of St. Thomas More in Centennial, St. Vincent de Paul in Denver, St. Joan of Arc in Arvada and Blessed Sacrament in Denver, died Nov. 11 in his hometown of Waterford, Ireland. He was 85.
A memorial service has been set for 11 a.m. Nov. 27 at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 2375 E. Arizona Ave. in Denver.
St. Thomas More Parish in Centennial paid tribute to him at Masses on Nov. 16 and Nov. 17.
“Father Walsh was a very good man and very good pastor,” said Mila Glodava, director of communications and stewardship at St. Thomas More. “We remember him fondly and want to honor him for all the things he did for this parish.”
He was named pastor of St. Thomas More in 1988 when the parish was experiencing tremendous growth. Many religious education classes were being held in private homes because of the lack of classroom space. Father Walsh spearheaded the building of an education complex next to the church over the objections of some neighbors.
“He was resolved and it was the right decision,” Glodava said.
The Evangelization Center, dedicated on June 24, 1994, serves about 600 kindergarten-through –eighth grade students in the parish school and another 1,800 students in religious education.
Father Walsh was born Feb. 20, 1928, in Waterford, Ireland, and was one of 11 children. He came to Colorado in 1947 to study at St. Thomas Seminary. He was ordained on May 29, 1953, and retired in June 2005.
Father Walsh also served as pastor at Holy Trinity in Colorado Springs and Immaculate Conception in Lafayette, and in Denver as chaplain at Mercy Hospital and superintendent of Bishop Machebeuf High School.
He was known for getting the parishes in good financial shape and encouraging parishioners to expand their stewardship to the churches.
“He was a good priest who was able to bring people back to their parishes,” said Nick Dunphy, whose father, Edmond, was Father Walsh’s first cousin who also lived in Denver. “He was always there for our family, whether it was baptisms, weddings or funerals or just there for us in difficult times.”
Father Walsh’s work also extended globally to help the Catholic Church in Russia after the fall of communism. The Queen of the Apostles Mission Association (QAMA) apostolate expanded aid to the Ukraine and Slovakia with the goal to rebuild churches and seminaries and also provide medical equipment to hospitals.
He visited Ireland yearly while serving as a priest in Denver and went there to live full-time after his retirement. A Mass was celebrated Nov. 14, at the Church of Our Lady of Assumption in Modeligo, Ireland. Burial was at an adjoining cemetery.