October 16: Msgr. James Colbert


October 16, 1985

Msgr. James Colbert

Msgr. Colbert was born on November 27, 1926 in Wagoner, OK. He attended St. John Seminary, Little Rock, AR; St. Thomas Seminary, Denver, CO; and Kenrick Seminary, St. Louis, MO where he was ordained in the seminary chapel on December 18, 1955 by Bishop Charles Helmsing. As an assistant he was assigned to the cathedral, St. Teresa Parish, Hutchinson, and to Sacred Heart Parish, Arkansas City. Although he began to experience health problems as an assistant he became pastor of St. Rose Parish in Council Grove in 1958 and the following year was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In 1964 he became chaplain to the Home for the Aging in El Dorado and from there was assigned to Mercy Hospital in Independence, Holy Redeemer Parish in Tampa, and back to Mercy Hospital in Independence. In 1974 he went on permanent sick leave and lived at Holy Name Rectory in Coffeyville. He eventually had both legs amputated but kept a positive spirit throughout once writing to Bishop Gerber, “Don’t underestimate the power of prayers of a priest with no legs.” (The Catholic Advance, Oct. 24, 1985) Bishop Gerber named Father Colbert a monsignor at the General Assembly of a People Gathered on September 29, 1985 and he died seventeen days later. Bishop Gerber celebrated his funeral Mass at Holy Name Parish in Coffeyville and Msgr. Colbert was buried in the Catholic cemetery in Coffeyville.