Fr. O’Shea’s wit never dwindled

Funeral Mass for Father Sean was Friday, Dec. 1, at the Cathedral
Father Sean O’Shea kept his Irish wit about him – even as death neared.
After asking Father John Sherlock to deliver the homily at his funeral, he said, “Keep it short – but not too short!”
Father Sherlock then asked him what he wanted him to preach about. “I don’t know,” Father O’Shea replied. “I won’t be there. What’s more, that’s your job!”
Father Sherlock, a retired priest of the Diocese of Wichita, fulfilled Father O’Shea’s request Friday, Dec. 1, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita, after Fr. O’Shea’s death Monday, Nov. 27.
Speaking to a full church that included several nieces and nephews from Ireland, Father Sherlock talked about the long trip to America Father O’Shea made aboard the RMS Mauritania after his ordination in 1950. Before he left, he said, the farewells included the equivalent to an Irish wake, where amid food and drink, good-byes were given with the understanding that they may never meet again.
“Once here, he undertook his commitment to be part of Christ’s mission: to live with him and die with him,” Fr. Sherlock said. “Fr. Sean’s life was enhanced by the priestly ministry. He flourished as he acted ‘in persona Christi.’”
He said the Irish priest’s journey began on the Emerald Isle and ended in Wichita. “He has run the race, he has persevered and now he awaits the ultimate reward to live with the Supreme High Priest in Heaven.”
The rebellious spirit he brought with him from County Cork, the “rebel county,” Father Sherlock said, served him in answering the needs of his parishioners for 67 years. “He was always remembering the purpose of his priesthood, the salvation of souls. This was paramount in his thinking.”
His dedication to the Catholics of the diocese continued after his retirement, he said.
“He showed his priestly and caring heart as he frequently visited the sick at the Catholic Care Center and substituted in parishes. When it was his turn to be on the receiving end, the staff at the Catholic Care Center returned the favor while looking after and caring for him affectionate and lovingly.”
Father Sherlock closed his homily by saying, “Adios!…Father Sean go with God,” and in Gaelic added, “‘Ar Dheis De go raibh a anam,’ (may he sit at the right hand of God).”
John J. O’Shea was born on Nov. 25, 1924, at Ballyknockin Maurne Abbey in County Cork and studied for the priesthood at St. Patrick College in Carlow, Ireland. He was ordained there on June 4, 1950.
About six months later Father O’Shea was appointed chaplain of Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott. In 1954 he was named pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Little River. That was followed by pastoral appointments at Sacred Heart in Halstead in 1960; St. Patrick, Kingman, 1967; Holy Cross, Hutchinson, 1973; and St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, 1985. He retired on Jan. 28, 1999.
Father O’Shea’s interment was in Ascension Cemetery in Wichita.

Obituaries, December 15, 2017

FASBENDER
Edna Mae (Schulte), 91, St. Catherine of Siena, Wichita, Nov. 11.
RODRIGUEZ
Perla Marina, 42, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Wichita, Nov. 14.
BECKER
Robert Herman, 77, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Nov. 16.
LIES
John A., 60, St. Anthony, Garden Plain, Nov. 18.
NANCE
Alla Rebia, 90, St. Catherine of Siena, Wichita, Nov. 18.
RAUSCH
Jada Marie, 68, St. Mary, Derby, Nov. 18.
HITT
George C., 82, St. Anthony/St. Rose, Wellington, Nov. 19.
GARREN
Linda K. (Londeen), 76, St. Vincent de Paul, Andover, Nov. 21.
MORK
Dewite Louis, 71, Christ the King, Wichita, Nov. 21.
PURDY
Dorothy A. “Agnes,” 74, St. Joseph, McPherson, Nov. 22.
SHEA
Farrell Patrick, 85, Holy Cross, Hutchinson, Nov. 22.
DAVIS
Darlene M., 81, St. Mary, Newton, Nov. 23.
HOWARD
Helen, 89, Catholic Care Center, Wichita, Nov. 23.
ARGOSINO
Dr. Rodolfo “Rudy,” 77, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Nov. 24.
MENG
James August “Jim,” 91, Sacred Heart, Eureka, Nov. 25.
STADLER
Patricia M. “Pat,” 86, St. Margaret Mary, Wichita, Nov. 25.
WILLIAMS
T.J., 83, Sacred Heart, Eureka, Nov. 26.
FARTHING
Fern Elizabeth, 95, St. Vincent de Paul, Andover, Nov. 27.
BEYE
Barbara J., 83, Sacred Heart, Frontenac, Nov. 28.
FIEDLER
Anthony C. “Tony,” 66, St. Joseph, McPherson, Nov. 28.
McHENRY
Robert, Jr., “Bo,” 80, St. Mary, Derby, Nov. 28.
MEYER
Mary Katherine, 72, St. Mary, Aleppo, Nov. 28.
SANTNER
Phyllis Marjorie (Peters), 93, St. Patrick, Wichita, Nov. 28.
STONE
Elizabeth F. “Betty,” 98, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Hutchinson, Nov. 29.
KENDALL
Anna P. Sinnett, 94, St. Patrick, Kingman, Nov. 30.
ROY
Carol A. (Gordinier), 80, St. Mary, Derby, Nov. 30.
BIRKET
Paula Marie, 61, St. Patrick, Wichita, Dec. 1.
MADDEN
Jack L., 82, St. Joseph, McPherson, Dec. 1.
WILSON
John Carl, Jr., 96, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Dec. 1.
MOUTZ
Madeline Carol, 79, Sacred Heart, Frontenac, Dec. 2.
HIGHLAND
Glen Ivan “GI,” 88, St. Anne, Wichita, Dec. 3.
SANBURN
Floyd D., Sr., 93, All Saints, Wichita, Dec. 3.
VILLARREAL
Amanda, 24, Holy Name, Winfield, Dec. 3.
PATTON
Ann Clark, 60, Blessed Sacrament, Wichita, Dec. 4.
POTTER
Deanne M., 56, Sacred Heart, Anthony, Dec. 4.

Fr. O’Shea passes away Monday

Irishman was the oldest diocesan priest at 93
Father Sean O’Shea, the oldest priest in the Diocese of Wichita, died Monday night, Nov. 27, at 93. He was one of several priests who came from Ireland in the 1950s to serve in Kansas.
A funeral Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. today, Friday, Dec. 1, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in Wichita.
John J. O’Shea was born on Nov. 25, 1924, at Ballyknockin Maurne Abbey in County Cork and studied for the priesthood at St. Patrick College in Carlow, Ireland. He was ordained there on June 4, 1950.
About six months later Father O’Shea was appointed chaplain of Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott. In 1954 he was named pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Little River. That was followed by pastoral appointments at Sacred Heart in Halstead in 1960; St. Patrick, Kingman, 1967; Holy Cross, Hutchinson, 1973; and St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, 1985. He retired on Jan. 28, 1999.
Fr. O’Shea served the Diocese of Wichita for 67 years, substituting at Masses for his brother priests until just recently.
Just after Fr. O’Shea’s retirement, Bishop Emeritus Eugene J. Gerber said the Irish priest had two dominant passions that held together his interior life: “evangelization, and its companion, hospitality.”
“These two passions together with that of beauty form a trinity that help to understand the inner working of Father O’Shea’s life and the outer workings of his ministry,” Bishop Gerber said.
Anyone who knows Father O’Shea knows his priesthood will never retire, the bishop said. “This man of class, this priest for others, this lover of beauty, endures along with the eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ. This local church, this bishop and the ones before me, are indebted to Father O’Shea.”

Obituaries, December 1, 2017

BALOG
John, 94, Catholic Care Center, Wichita, Nov. 6.
TEJEDA
Caralina A., 96, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Wichita, Nov. 6.
PURINTON
Virginia, 95, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Nov. 9.
SIWA
Ricardo Baylen, 85, All Saints, Wichita, Nov. 9.
THIMESCH
Catherine A., 76, St. Anthony, Garden Plain, Nov. 9.
SCHMIDT
Richard H., 92, Sacred Heart, Colwich, Nov. 11.
RAYMOND
Otto John “Jack,” 91, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Wichita, Nov. 12.
GORMAN
William Terence “Bill,” 62, Our Lady of Lourdes, Pittsburg, Nov. 13.
McKINNEY
Diane C., 71, Holy Cross, Hutchinson, Nov. 13.

Obituaries, November 17, 2017

CONTRERAS
J. Manuel “Manny,” 40, St. Mary Cathedral, Wichita, Oct. 23.
MAGATHAN
Paul, 96, St. Anthony, Strong City, Oct. 23.
SALGADO
Christine L., 65, St. Teresa, Hutchinson, Oct. 24.
IRWIN
Michael, 74, All Saints, Wichita, Oct. 25.
JENKINS
Johnny Lee, 66, Holy Cross, Hutchinson, Oct. 25.
WASINGER
Felix R., 93, Holy Cross, Hutchinson, Oct. 25.
BEACHNER
Ryan Eugene, 36, Sacred Heart, Frontenac, Oct. 26.
SWARTZMAN
Avis A., 80, St. Vincent de Paul, Andover, Oct. 26.
LINDT
Marvin James, 84, St. Patrick, Kingman, Oct. 27.
FOSTER
Leona Marie, 85, St. Ignatius, Neodesha, Oct. 28.
SVOBODA
Barbara Jean (Worthington), 81, St. John Nepomucene, Pilsen, Oct. 28.
HABIGER
John K., 69, Holy Name, Bushton, Oct. 29.
PAULY
James E. “Jim,” 66, St. John, Clonmel, Oct. 30.
SMITH
Ann Jo, 87, St. Mary, Derby, Oct. 31.
FEY
John A. “Tony,” 66, St. Mary, Newton, Nov. 1.
HORTON
Marlene Ann, 61, Blessed Sacrament, Wichita, Nov. 1.
KIDD
Douglas Lyle, 70, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Nov. 1.
SCHAUF
Dale H., 82, Christ the King, Wichita, Nov. 1.
ALLEN
Patricia “Pat,” 92, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Nov. 2.
ROTTERING
Rita E., 78, St. Patrick, Kingman, Nov. 2.
TRAN
Tuyen V. “Joseph,” 97, St. Anthony, Wichita, Nov. 2.
ZIEGLER
John J., 93, St. Michael, Girard, Nov. 2.
FONSECA
Nati M., 47, Christ the King, Wichita, Nov. 3.
PETR
Brian, 24, Church of the Resurrection, Wichita, Nov. 3.
SCHLOTTHAUER
Therese Anne (Aaron) “Terry,” 87, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Nov. 3.
KAHN
Joan Gleeson, 84, Holy Savior, Wichita.
WOLKE
Donald Eugene, 72, St. Mary, Derby, Nov. 6.
EBERSOLE
Karen E. (Bebak), 53, St. John, El Dorado, Nov. 7.
NUESSEN
Donna Jo, 56, Sacred Heart, Eureka, Nov. 7.

David Gittrich was a powerful pro-life force

“Keep up the fight for life.”
The last statement published by David Gittrich summarized his sense of purpose for the past 35 years: an unending, irrepressible drive to protect the unborn.
Gittrich died of kidney cancer Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice at Via Christi Hospital St. Joseph in Wichita. He was 71.
A funeral Mass was celebrated at Monday, Oct. 23, at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Wichita. Fifteen priests of the Diocese of Wichita celebrated the Mass.
Father Curtis Hecker, the main celebrant, told the overflowing church that he always felt special knowing that he was Gittrich’s godson – until he found out that the pro-life stalwart was godfather “to half of the children in Wichita.”
He said Gittrich lived an honorable life, adding that he was the single-most powerful pro-life force he had ever known.
“That conviction drove him to do what he did day-in and day-out,” Father Hecker said, urging those at the funeral to continue Gittrich’s work – and reminding them that life is short.
The pro-life battle isn’t over, he said, and the pro-lifers have lost a general.
Father Hecker also read a letter from Bishop James D. Conley, a priest ordained for the Diocese of Wichita who is now bishop of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, who talked about meeting Gittrich in 1985 and how he worked closely with him for years.
As a result, “I spent a lot of time in jail with David,” the bishop said, referring to the Summer of Mercy protests in front of the abortion clinic in Wichita that resulted in arrests of clergy and other pro-lifers.
Bishop Conley said the incarceration was a gift, in that he felt like one of the early apostles, imprisoned for his beliefs.
Alluding to David in the Old Testament, Bishop Conley wrote that God used David Gittrich in a mighty way, adding that Gittrich “faced the evil Goliaths of our day.”
In a statement released by Kansans for Life hours before his death, Gittrich wrote:
“Thank you for your prayers. Cancer is winning… I’d love to tell you all how much I love you… You can visit, but just to say goodbye, no visiting, or you can send cards if you want to. Pray for a peaceful death with no suffering. Keep up the fight for life.”
Gittrich was born on Dec. 20, 1946, in Wichita. He attended Blessed Sacrament School and graduated in 1964 from Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School. In 1982 he was managing the Maize Food Mart, one of four grocery stores owned by his father, when a friend showed Gittrich the pro-life documentary “Assignment Life.”
That began his unrelenting drive to protect the unborn.
He became involved in pro-life groups and with like-minded individuals incorporated Kansans for Life. Gittrich became the executive director of KFL in 1989 and helped organize community pro-life groups. At one point there were 85 KFL chapters in the state.
He served as executive director until 2000 when he moved to Kansas City to serve as director of the Respect Life office for the archdiocese. He returned to Kansans for Life in 2002 and served as development director until his death.
Bonnie Toombs, director of the diocesan Respect Life and Social Justice Office, described Gittrich as being passionate about protecting the lives of the unborn.
“He spent a great deal of time establishing a strong grassroots presence in Kansas to speak out at every level of government for the most vulnerable – and he loved doing it. I will miss having David to share ideas with, and to learn what his next plan was going to be.”
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts said in a statement: “David lived his life to fight for the lives of others, and we are so grateful.”
Roberts added that Gittrich worked at a time when few people understood the severity regarding the issue of life. “He led the charge in the battle to protect the lives of our most vulnerable, and built a grassroots army through education and compassion. His advocacy changed the political landscape in Kansas.

Evening of Appreciation Nov. 8
Kansans for Life has planned an “Night of Appreciation for David Gittrich” on Wednesday, Nov. 8, at the Hyatt Regency in Wichita. The doors will open at 6 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7. The event was planned before Gittrich’s death, and will still go forward.

Obituaries, November 3, 2017

HUGHES
Wyatt Sean, 20, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Hutchinson, Oct. 10.
McMAHAN
Keith, 59, St. Jude, Wichita, Oct. 11.
PIHA
Michelle I., 44, St. Vincent de Paul, Andover, Oct. 11.
JIMENEZ
Richard Lee, 70, St. Anne, Wichita, Oct. 12.
BARNHART
Cleo M., 95, St. Patrick, Chanute, Oct. 14.
READ
Patricia, 70, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Oct. 15.
BOYER
Rita D. (Smithheisler), 95, Blessed Sacrament, Wichita, Oct. 16.
CHADD
Rolly F., 81, St. Joseph, Wichita, Oct. 16.
MIDDLESWART
Bret A., 54, Mother of God, Oswego, Oct. 16.
VIERTHALER
Daniel Joseph, 57, St. Mary, Newton, Oct. 16.
BRESNICK
Frank James, 92, Pittsburg, Oct. 17.
GITTRICH
David Alan, 70, Blessed Sacrament, Wichita, Oct. 17.
LITTON
Kathleen Ann (Acker), 71, Church of the Resurrection, Wichita, Oct. 17.
RIEBEL
Edward M., 91, St. John, Iola, Oct. 17.
ECK
Joan, 84, St. Catherine of Siena, Wichita, Oct. 18.
KHOURY
George H., MD, FAAP, FACC, 85, Church of the Magalen, Wichita, Oct. 18.
MIES
Nick M., 92, St. Joseph, Conway Springs, Oct. 18.
O’BRIEN
Dianna, 70, Blessed Sacrament, Wichita, Oct. 18.
WARNER
Stephen J., 68, St. Teresa, Hutchinson, Oct. 18.
ARAMBULA
Agustin D., 80, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Wichita, Oct. 19.
LIES
Rita Marie (Suddarth), 86, St. Joseph, Andale, Oct. 19.
MAGDALENO
Socorro, 87, Blessed Sacrament, Wichita, Oct. 19.
McFADDIN
L. Dee, 72, St. James, Augusta, Oct. 19.
RIDDLE
Barbara Ann, RN, 79, St. Mary, Derby, Oct. 19.
CRAREN
Denise Ann (Ast), 58, Christ the King, Wichita, Oct. 21.
HARRIS
Ruth R., 87, Church of the Magdalen, Wichita, Oct. 21.
MOOS
Clarence J., 97, Catholic Care Center, Wichita, Oct. 21.
STEINER
Genevieve, 95, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Oct. 21.
COOK
Lea J., 73, St. James, Augusta, Oct. 22.
GANGWER
Constance W., 83, Our Lady of Lourdes, Pittsburg, Oct. 22.
LARKIN
Leo C., 85, St. Anthony, Garden Plain, Oct. 22.
LINSNER
Robert “Bobby,” 68, Church of the Magdalen, Wichita, Oct. 23.
ORTH
Nadine (Feuerborn), 81, St. Patrick, Wichita, Oct. 24.
WEBER
Rochelle J. “Rocky,” 67, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Wichita, Oct. 24.
JENKINS
Johnny Lee, 66, Holy Cross, Hutchinson, Oct. 25.
BERGKAMP
Mary Irene, 88, St. Louis, Waterloo, Oct. 26.

Obituaries, October 20, 2017

UNDERWOOD
Loretta C. (Ernstmann), 99, All Saints, Wichita, Sept. 24.
DINH
Fr. Joseph Thuc, 61, St. Anthony, Wichita, Sept. 27.
LEES
Donald Alexander, 81, St. Teresa, Hutchinson, Sept. 27.
ALLEN
Bradley Dee, 55, Church of the Magdalen, Wichita, Sept. 28.
BANH
Steve A., 67, Blessed Sacrament, Wichita, Sept. 28.
BLUBAUGH
Brenda Lee Silcott, 65, Immaculate Conception, Danville, Sept. 29.
TICHENOR
Thomas Joseph, 68, St. Mary, Derby, Oct. 1.
LUTZ
Beatrice, 78, Church of the Resurrection, Wichita, Oct. 2.
FREDERIKSEN
Mary F., 98, St. John, El Dorado, Oct. 2.
HANSEN
Caroline Llamas “Carole,” 70, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Newton, Oct. 2.
SIMON
Charles “Chuck,” St. John, El Dorado, Oct. 3.
BENNETT
Adam Wesley, 25, St. Anthony/St. Rose, Wellington, Oct. 4.
PINTAR
Frances J., 91, Sacred Heart, Frontenac, Oct. 6.
GREEN
Iris Elaine (McAlpine), 74, Holy Savior, Wichita, Oct. 5.
COURY
Sue, 94, St. Pius X Student Center, Pittsburg, Oct. 6.
SANDER
Shirley A., 81, St. John, El Dorado, Oct. 6.
FARRELL
Doris Rae, 93, St. Patrick, Parsons, Oct. 9.
KNUPPEL
Lyle K., 71, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Oct. 11.

Fr. Leroy Linnebur dies Sept. 12 at age 85

Father Leroy Linnebur, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita for nearly 56 years, died Tuesday, Sept. 12, at the Catholic Care Center in Wichita.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Saturday, Sept. 16, at Sacred Heart Church in Colwich.
Father Tom Scaletty, a retired priest of the diocese, said Father Linnebur will be “greatly missed.”
Father Leroy was part of a group of priests who met on Tuesdays for golf and a meal.
“Fr. Leroy was a better cook than golfer. He had a great sense of humor,” he said, adding, “May he rest in peace!”
Father Linnebur was born on a farm near Colwich on July 24, 1932, to Bill and Alvine Linnebur. He attended grade school in Colwich and high school in Andale. After graduating, he helped his parents raise cattle for a couple of years, and then decided to begin studying for the priesthood.
Father Linnebur attended the North American College in Rome, Italy, and was ordained a priest at St. Peter’s Basilica in 1961.
He served as an assistant at St. Patrick Parish, Kingman; All Saints and Magdalen in Wichita; and at Sacred Heart in Frontenac after his ordination. Father Linnebur was assigned to St. Mary High School in Pittsburg in 1966 and two years later to Trinity High School in Hutchinson.
In 1970 he served as administrator of Holy Trinity, Little River, while continuing his duties in Hutchinson. Father Linnebur was named pastor of Sacred Heart in Cunningham in 1975; St. John, El Dorado in 1978; St. Joseph, Conway Springs and St. Martin, Caldwell, in 1983; and St. John, Clonmel in 1992. He retired in 2002.
Survivors are sisters, Mary Youngers of Kingman, and Sister Mary Ruth of Oshkosh, Wisconsin; brothers Wayne and Donald of Wichita, and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial has been established with the Diocese of Wichita’s Priest Education and Retirement Fund.

Sr. Josephine O’Gorman dies Sept. 21 at age 86

Sister Josephine O’Gorman, 86, died Sept. 21. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph for nearly 70 years. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Wednesday, Sept. 27, at Mt. St. Mary’s Convent in Wichita.
Sr. Josephine was born on July 25, 1931, in Tulamore, County Meath, Ireland. She was educated in the elementary National School in Tallow and Assumption High School. At the age of 16 she left Ireland to join the Sisters of St. Joseph in Wichita, receiving the habit on March 19, 1948. She made her final profession on July 26, 1953.
Sr. Josephine’s education continued at Sacred Heart Junior College, Friends University, Ft. Hays State University, before receiving a bachelor’s degree in education from St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City. She began her ministry as a housekeeper for two years, and moved to teaching where she served schools in the Diocese of Wichita and Dodge City in Hoisington, Iola, Pratt, Coffeyville, Derby, Kingman, and Wichita.
In 1985 she began working in pastoral ministry at St. Teresa Parish in Hutchinson, working in adult education and the parish RCIA program. She continued this ministry after moving to Danville, Kansas, working in the combined parishes of Danville/Harper/Anthony where she formed study groups, directed the RCIA process, and visited the elderly in the parishes. She followed this with a move to Ponca City, Oklahoma, to serve as chaplain in Westminster Village in 1997.
Sr. Josephine never truly retired. Upon returning to Mt. St. Mary’s in Wichita, she began volunteering by organizing Bible study groups, supporting the CSJ Associate program, providing prayerful support and guidance for clients and staff of Dear Neighbor Ministries and Stepstone, as well as helping with fundraising activities. Her grace and hospitality to visitors of the convent and the CSJ sponsored ministries will long be remembered by those who met her.
Memorial contributions in her name may be made to Dear Neighbor Ministries, Inc. and/or StepStone 3700 E. Lincoln, Wichita, KS 67218.

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