Holy trinity

The Holy Trinity Family Mourns the Loss of ‘Father Pete’ | Local news

PAOLA – It didn’t take long for members of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church to fall in love with Reverend Peter O’Sullivan after he became a priest of the congregation in the summer of 2015.

They loved his short but to the point homilies. They loved his sense of humor. They loved his dedication to helping others. They loved his passion for children. And they loved to listen to his stories.

When it came to storytelling, O’Sullivan had no shortage of materials. After all, most priests aren’t former sailors or star college athletes.

When O’Sullivan announced earlier this summer that he had been diagnosed with head and neck cancer, members of the congregation hoped he would win the battle soon and that it would become just one more story to tell. .

After surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy treatments, however, O’Sullivan’s condition began to worsen and he lost his battle on October 9 at the age of 65.

“He was amazing and he was such a dear friend to us,” said Jenny Latendresse.

Jenny and her husband Ron often dined with O’Sullivan, and they even drove him to some of his cancer treatments.

“It’s hard to imagine that we won’t talk to him or see him again,” Jenny said.

Mary Beth Guy said O’Sullivan is dedicated to visiting the sick and housebound, and enjoys working with the teens and children at Holy Trinity School.

“He really lived his life helping others,” Guy said. “And he always had a smile.”

During his tenure as a priest at Holy Trinity, O’Sullivan helped oversee the fundraising, design, and construction of the church’s new parish center. Guy said O’Sullivan was instrumental in turning the building expansion into reality.

When the pandemic first struck last year and people were unable to physically attend church, many became familiar with O’Sullivan from mass video recordings made by Paul Michael Davis and his team. at McTV Live.

“He was such a strong devout Catholic,” Davis said. “Everyone loved him. “

Bob Gregory went with O’Sullivan to visit a group of nuns in Mexico, and said that O’Sullivan made sure to take the time to visit the school near the convent and speak with the children.

Gregory and several other members of the congregation said they will miss O’Sullivan’s traditional Christmas present this year. Gregory said O’Sullivan would still cross the state border to a liquor store in Missouri and buy two cases of O’Sullivan to distribute to friends. O’Sullivan’s is an Irish cream liqueur similar to Bailey’s.

O’Sullivan was a true Irish Catholic, and he even visited Ireland on a family trip to see where his grandfather was born, according to his obituary.

Holy Trinity secretary Rexanne Laudan said she enjoyed working with O’Sullivan because he was so laid back and friendly.

“He loved to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and he brought traditional Irish food to our house,” said Laudan.

O’Sullivan also loved sports, and Laudan said he would even come with them to Emporia to watch his daughter play basketball there. Because he had preached in Emporia before, O’Sullivan was usually swarmed with people who wanted to talk to him when he arrived, Laudan said.

O’Sullivan was himself a former athlete. He received a football scholarship to Washburn University where he played until injury in his freshman year. In high school, he performed for St. Joseph’s High School in Shawnee, the forerunner of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Bill Hauldren de Paola said he was a senior in 1973, and he remembers playing football at St. Joseph of Shawnee. Hauldren and O’Sullivan became friends after the priest came to Holy Trinity, and after talking about the past, they realized that they had both played opposite each other in this soccer game. .

Hauldren has said that he and O’Sullivan golfed together and that he will miss listening to his stories.

After college, O’Sullivan went to the US Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia, where he found his calling attending mass every day at 6 a.m. He attended St. Louis University, where he obtained a master’s degree in divinity.

O’Sullivan was ordained to St. Joseph’s Church in Shawnee on June 4, 1983. He served as a deacon at the Annunciation Catholic Church in Frankfort, Kan. His first 10 years as a priest, he also taught at the local Catholic high schools where he served. His first ward was Christ the King, in Kansas City, Kansas, where he taught at Bishop Ward High School for three years. From there, he went to Topeka in the parishes of Christ-Roi and Saint-Joseph. While in Topeka, he taught at Hayden Catholic High School for four years. He then served as pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Nortonville and Immaculate Conception in Valley Falls while teaching at Maur Hill Academy for three years. Then he was sent to Saint Pius on a mission and then to Emporia, where he served both the parishes of the Sacred Heart and Saint Catherine and helped both with new buildings. He returned to Topeka at Christ the King, then was reassigned to the Queen of the Holy Rosary in Overland Park. His most recent appointment was Holy Trinity Parish in Paola.

Laudan said Rev. Joseph Sellas will be the new priest of the Holy Trinity and will likely serve until next July, when the archdiocese typically makes official appointments for priests.