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Diocese mourns, celebrates life of

Msgr. Patrick J. Leahy


Msgr. Patrick Joseph “Pat” Leahy, 94, a retired priest of the Diocese of Dodge City, died April 30, 2009, at the Catholic Care Center in Wichita. Bishop Ronald M. Gilmore presided at the funeral Mass celebrated May 5 at St. Elizabeth Chapel, Catholic Care Center, Wichita. Burial was in Ascension Cemetery, Wichita. Msgr. Leahy was born in Abbeyfeale, Ireland, Oct. 6, 1914, the son of Patrick and Johanna (Ward) Leahy. He was ordained June 19, 1938, by the Most Reverend Thomas Keough at All Hallows College, Dublin. He was elevated to the rank of monsignor on October 14, 1965.

He was known for his humor and energy. He used the weekly parish bulletins not only to disperse information, but to spread laughter, interesting historic notes and Church teaching.  He came to the Diocese of Wichita long before the active recruiting trips of Msgr. John Cody in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He enjoyed telling the story of a conversation between David Leahy and Bishop August Schwertner. “David Leahy was in his day a Probate Judge in Sedgwick County, also editor of the Wichita Eagle and Wichita Beacon....When I was a seminarian in All Hollows, Dave said to Bishop Schwertner, ‘You have no Father Leahy in the diocese, I’d like to see one here before I die. A cousin of mine is in a Dublin seminary.’ That’s the expedient story of my being incardinated into Wichita.”
He served at St. Patrick’s, Parsons, (1938-1942); Sacred Heart, Fredonia, (1942-1945), and St. John the Evangelist, El Dorado (1945-1950). He was pastor at St. John the Evangelist, Hoisington, (1950-1965), when the Diocese of Dodge City was established in 1951. His other pastoral assignments in the Diocese of Dodge City were: Mary, Queen of Peace, Ulysses, (1965-1966); Sacred Heart, Larned, (1966-1969); St. Joseph, Offerle, (1969-1971); Immaculate Conception, Claflin, (1971-1980), and St. Mary, McCracken, (1980-1998).
After he retired to the Priests’ Retirement Center in Wichita, he spent five hours a day in the adjacent Catholic Care Center assisting the residents in wheelchairs to daily Mass and to the dining hall.
Memorials can be sent to the Ann and Virgil Dechant Foundation in care of the Diocese of Dodge City, PO Box 137, Dodge City, KS  67801.

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