Remembered for his life of service and faith.
Most Reverend Michael Jarboe Sheehan, Archbishop Emeritus of Santa Fe, passed away June 3, 2023. Archbishop Emeritus Sheehan, a beloved spiritual leader, was born on July 9, 1939, and dedicated his life to the service of God and his community, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of those around him. He was ordained on July 12, 1964, in Rome, Italy, by Auxiliary Bishop Filippo Pocci for the Diocese of Dallas, was installed as the eleventh Archbishop of Santa Fe on September 21, 1993, and retired June 4, 2015.
Archbishop Sheehan’s peaceful departure brings to an end a remarkable journey that spanned over eight decades, during which he selflessly guided countless individuals on their spiritual path and worked tirelessly to uplift the lives of those in need. Known for his unwavering faith, compassionate nature, and profound wisdom, he leaves a legacy that will continue to inspire future generations.
Throughout his tenure as the Archbishop of Santa Fe, Archbishop Emeritus Sheehan led with unwavering dedication, offering solace, guidance, and hope to his flock. His genuine love for the Church and unwavering commitment to its teachings were evident in his every action as he strove to promote unity, compassion, and understanding among all believers.
Beyond his pastoral responsibilities, Archbishop Emeritus Sheehan was deeply committed to social justice, evangelization, and worked tirelessly to abolish the death penalty in New Mexico. He championed initiatives aimed at eradicating poverty, promoting equality, and ensuring the well-being of the most vulnerable members of society. His unwavering advocacy for human rights and dignity earned him the respect and admiration of people from all walks of life. On June 17, 2003, he was named Apostolic Administrator of Phoenix until December 20, 2003, and was elected the Secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops November 12, 2003 – December 1, 2006.
Archbishop Emeritus Sheehan’s impact reached far beyond the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, as he actively engaged with interfaith communities and fostered dialogue and understanding between denominations. His commitment to ecumenism and interfaith collaboration served as a guiding light for promoting peace, harmony, and unity among diverse communities.
The loss of Archbishop Emeritus Michael Jarboe Sheehan will be deeply felt by the Roman Catholic Church, the local community, and countless individuals. His motto, “Love One Another Constantly,” will continue to inspire and guide the faithful to uphold the values he held dear.
As the passing of Archbishop Emeritus Sheehan is mourned, let us remember his life as a testament to the power of faith, love, and service. In the coming days, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe will provide information on funeral arrangements and opportunities for the community to honor and celebrate the life of this remarkable spiritual leader.
Archbishop Wester said, “He was a faithful servant of the Lord who loved this local Church and all its priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful. May Archbishop Sheehan rest in peace, and may his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, brother priests, friends, and all those who were blessed by the grace of Archbishop Emeritus Michael Jarboe Sheehan. May he rest in eternal peace.
Most Reverend Michael Jarboe Sheehan
Archbishop Emeritus of Santa Fe
July 9, 1939 in Wichita, Kansas
July 12, 1964 in Rome Italy by Auxiliary Bishop Filippo Pocci for the Diocese of Dallas
June 17, 1983 in Lubbock Texas by Archbishop Patrick Fernandez Flores as Principal Consecrator and Co-Consecrators Bishop Leroy Theodore Matthiesen and Bishop Thomas Ambrose Tschoepe
Languages Spoken: English, Spanish, Italian
1965-1968 Parochial Vicar, Immaculate Conception, Tyler, TX
1971-1976 Assistant General Secretary, NCCB / USCC
1976-1982 Rector, Holy Trinity Seminary, Dallas, TX
1982-1983 Pastor, Immaculate Conception, Grand Prairie, TX
1983-1993 Appointed as First Bishop, Diocese of Lubbock (Installed June 17, 1983)
04-06-1993 Apostolic Administrator, Archdiocese of Santa Fe
08-17-1993 Appointed as Eleventh Archbishop, Archdiocese of Santa Fe
09-21-1993 Installed as Eleventh Archbishop of Santa Fe
06-17-2003 Apostolic Administrator of Phoenix (additional duty until December 20, 2003)
11-12-2003 Elected Secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (additional duty until 12-01-2006)
1955-1957 Diploma, St. John’s High School Seminary, San Antonio, TX
1957-1961 Assumption Seminary, San Antonio, TX
1961-1965 MA, Theology, North American College, Rome Italy
1965 STL, Theology, Gregorian University, Rome, Italy
1971 JCD, Canon Law, Lateran University, Rome, Italy
2006 Honorary Doctorate, Notre Dame University
Board of Directors / Committees
The Pontifical College Josephinum
Episcopal Moderator for the National Catholic Young Adult Ministry Association
Board of Governors, North American College
Board of Directors, Holy Trinity Seminary, Dallas
Board of Directors, Mexican American Cultural Center
Board of Directors, Mutual of Omaha
Board of Directors, Catholic Extension Society
Board of Directors, Catholic Relief Services
Board of Trustees, St. Mary’s of the Plains Hospital, Lubbock
Board of Directors, United Way Program
NCCB Administrative Committee
NCCB American Board of Catholic Missions – Chairman
NCCB Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry
NCCB Communications Committee
NCCB Committee on Hispanic Affairs
NCCB Committee on Proselytism
NCCB Evangelization Committee – Chairman
USCCB Committee on Plans and Priorities – Chairman
NCCB V Centenary Committee
NCCB Bishops Committee on the Liturgy
Tri-Conference Committee on Retirement for Religious
Papal Visitation Team for US Seminaries
Texas Catholic Conference Committee for Ecumenical Guidelines – Chairman
Why Be a Catholic, Series of 12 Pamphlets, Our Sunday Visitor
Article in The Jurist Magazine
Article in The New Catholic Encyclopedia
Article in Catholic Evangelization
A New Way of Acting: Catholic Evangelization in the Diocese of Lubbock
An Invitation to Love
Always Our Children
To Honor Our Dead
Seeds of Struggle, Harvest of Faith
From Despair to Hope
Sacrament of Confession
Reverence for the Eucharist
Pastoral Care for Couples Who Are Cohabitating
Year of Faith