"It will hit me about a week after his funeral."

Please take a moment to say a prayer for Monsignor Michael Minehan, pastor of my hometown parish, who died on the day before Thanksgiving. He was a great priest.

He had, at one time, been Chancellor of the Diocese of Syracuse. When I first met him, soon after his installation in my little town, I asked, “So, what did you do to get sent down here?”

He didn’t skip a beat, and his response was perfect. “Oh, the bishop sent me down to keep an eye on your parents.”

“Well, at least you’ve got a beautiful church here,” I replied. (That’s it in the picture up above.)

“Yeah, but you know what? I’m thinking of putting in a nice drop ceiling. It’ll save us a fortune in heating.”

Oh, but he was a sharp one.

My brother The Hollywood Farmer was interviewed for the local paper’s story on his passing:

“Minehan made an impression on the St. Mary’s parish with his leadership and his love for the church and the priesthood, said During and Mark Lickona, director of religious education for St. Mary’s School. ‘He was unswerving in his devotion to the whole mission of the Catholic church, even the parts that seem antiquated,’ Lickona said. ‘He loved the depth and breadth of the church, was loyal to traditions where some people might pick and choose what they embrace.’ Lickona said Minehan was too self-effacing to see himself as a change agent in St. Mary’s, ‘but a guy like him hadn’t been seen in these parts in a long time. He was the reason I took this job after moving back here from Michigan. He is why our musical director and principal work for the school. He was a ray of light…It will hit me about a week after his funeral,’ Lickona said. ‘The monsignor is now gone but his presence and mission will still be carried forth.'”

Shortly before he died, he had dinner with my family. As he prepared to leave, he mentioned that, as a celibate, he sometimes worried that there would be no one to pray for him after he was gone.

Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.

(A second shot of the church is below.)


  1. Matthew,

    I place the good Monsignor’s smart-assery roughly between Powers and Percy, as far as priests go.

    I will be sure to say a rosary for his short stay in purgatory – sounds like he perhaps paid down a great deal of it on earth already…

    My condolences.


  2. “…he sometimes worried that there would be no one to pray for him after he was gone.”

    What a lonely statement. I will certainly pray for him.

  3. j. christian says

    I’ve said a prayer for him.

  4. Mark Thomas says

    It’s a statement he made more than once, actually. Sadly, it seems that many wished to have been closer to him than it seems they were able to be. He was “a very private person,” many say. I concur. I myself would like to have been a friend of his. The beautiful thing about being Christian is that, now, I might be. And even better friends later, I hope.

    I also think he may very well have burned off his years in the “heavenly crucible” already.

    I think too that, in fine, it may have been a mercy. Everyone, including the Monsignor, expected the Bishop to recommend him as the next Bishop of Syracuse, and seeing as he was already a chaplain to the Holy See, it was very likely he would have been made Bishop. And he did not want to go. “I can’t wait to get the call,” he told me once, “so I can say NO. ‘Are you crazy?’ I’ll say to [Auxiliary] Bishop [I can’t remember]. ‘I used to work there [the Chancery, home to many miserable persons not in love with the Bishop or the Faith]. Why would I want to go back?'” But if he had actually gotten that call, he would have said to the Bishop what he said when he was asked to be Chancellor: “Whatever you say, Bishop.”

    And so I think God had mercy on his faithful servant, letting him depart in peace, rather than subjecting him to the trial. God does that sometimes.

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