Father Tom Sheridan, 82, who ministered to Wyoming Catholics for 48 years, died Feb. 15, 2021 at Central Wyoming Hospice.
Due to COVID-19, private Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Casper on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. The Most Rev. Stephen Biegler, Bishop of the Diocese of Cheyenne, is celebrant with priests from the diocese as concelebrants.
A vigil will be held on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021 at 7:00 pm at St Patrick’s Catholic Church.
Both liturgies will be live-streamed and can be found on either the St. Patrick’s YouTube channel or Facebook page.
Father Tom was a giant of a man who pastored in 10 Wyoming communities - Rawlins, Newcastle, Powell, Casper (Our Lady of Fatima and St. Patrick’s), Sheridan, Ranchester, Saratoga, Cheyenne, Rock Springs and Green River.
Ordained on June 7, 1964, at St. Kieran’s Seminary, Killarney, Ireland, he retired from Immaculate Conception parish in Green River on July 1, 2012.
He considered himself the last of the Irish Connection, priests born in County Cavan, Ireland, and ordained in Ireland but who spent their lives ministering in the Diocese of Cheyenne. When he first arrived in Rawlins in 1964, almost half the priests serving in Wyoming were FBI, “Foreign Born Irish.”
In addition to his pastoral duties, Father Tom was diocesan youth director from 1975-1980, traveling constantly, sometimes 90,000 miles a year.
Christmas of 1976, while pastoring in Saratoga and also serving Hanna, Medicine Bow and Shirley Basin, he was determined to celebrate Christmas Eve Mass in all of those locations. Despite a raging blizzard, he made it to Shirley Basin, where community members made a town-wide celebration in the school gym, complete with a Baptist woman playing the piano and a visit from Santa. It was one of his favorite memories.
Father Tom was born on a farm and both his parents were Sheridan’s, although from different clans. He was the second of what would be 11 children.
When he was 8, he contracted polio and was sent to Dublin to a “fever” hospital. He was left with no visible physical abnormalities, but he realized decades later that the consequences of the polio for him had been emotional.
His journey to priesthood was not a given, as it was for many young boys in Ireland, but rather a gradual process. When he attended high school, or Minor College as it was known in Ireland from 12 to 17 years old, he rode a bicycle to Cavan nine miles each way, six days a week, a day student at a primarily boarding school. He figured he cycled approximately 13,000 miles in those five years.
In retirement, he wrote a book, “Moments in Ministry.” He enjoyed fishing, golf and sports, especially football, and travel.
Survivors include siblings and their spouses, Julia (Seamus) Laheen, Margaret (Jack) Casey, Eamon (Anne) Sheridan, Charlie (Maura) Sheridan, Paddy (Patricia) Sheridan, and Gerry (Kathleen) Sheridan, as well as sister-in-law Angela Sheridan and brother-in-law John Haughey and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Anne Sheehan and her husband, John, sister, Christina Haughey and brothers, Sean Sheridan and Seamus Sheridan.
At Father Tom's, request memorials may be made to: St. Joseph's Society for retired priests for the Diocese of Cheyenne, Diocese of Cheyenne Vocations Office, St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Casper, Wyoming, 82609.