Father Thomas Sheehan
Father Thomas Sheehan
Father Thomas J. Sheehan, who was retired and living in Ireland and had previously served at parishes in the Archdiocese of Washington, died on Aug. 24. He was 82 and was a resident of Deerpark House, a nursing facility in Seafield, Bantry, County Cork, Ireland.

Father Sheehan was born on July 26, 1927 in Cork, Ireland. After attending grade school and high school in Dunmanway in County Cork, he studied at St. Finbar's College in Cork City and St. Kieran's Seminary in Kilkenny where he was ordained to the priesthood on June 6, 1953.

The priest's first assignment was as associate pastor at St. Anthony's Parish in Washington in 1953. He was then appointed associate pastor at St. Thomas Apostle Parish in Washington in 1961 and at St. Mary of the Mills in Laurel in 1966.

Father Sheehan was appointed pastor of St. Joseph's Parish in Pomfret in 1966, and then he returned to St. Mary of the Mills, Laurel, as pastor in 1971. He served briefly as administrator of St. Martin of Tours in Washington in 1976 before being named the pastor of St. Stephen Martyr Parish in Washington, from where he retired in 1997.

While serving in Southern Maryland, Father Sheehan was the Charles and Calvert Counties deanery moderator of the C.C.D.

Linda Mozoki knew Father Sheehan at St. Stephen Martyr Parish in the early 1980s. She said the priest was a "compassionate man" and good listener. Mozoki said once, when she was shoveling snow in front of St. Stephen's, Father Sheehan invited herself and her women friends into the rectory to get warm.

"He was a very good parish priest, he had the time for the parishioners," she said. Mozoki also said Father Sheehan spearheaded the new rectory for St. Stephen, Martyr Church. "He constructed a beautiful building" that is still in use today, she said.

Father M. Valentine Keveny, who now serves as the chaplain at Shady Grove Hospital and is in residence at St. Mary's Parish in Rockville, lived in Foggy Bottom with Father Sheehan. Both priests are natives of Ireland. "We bonded right away. We had an awful lot in common," Father Keveny said. He added that people "loved" Father Sheehan for being Irish.

"Growing up in a loving home in Ireland prepared him for work" in parishes in the archdiocese, Father Valentine said. He added that Father Sheehan had great devotion to the Blessed Virgin and Jesus in the tabernacle.

Father Keveny called Father Sheehan a "wonderful friend" and an intellectual. "I never met a man more well-read than him," Father Keveny said, adding that Father Sheehan would quote from all the great authors.

Father Keveny also said Father Sheehan was gifted at preaching and loved antique shopping. Father Sheehan had collected 125 antique clocks. "Time infatuated him," Father Keveny said, noting that the Irish priest loved repairing the old clocks.

Father Keveny said Father Sheehan enjoyed eating at the Big Boy cafe and Ihop.

The late priest is survived his sister, Eileen Keating. The Funeral Mass was held at All Saints Catholic Church in Drimoleague, County Cork, on Aug. 27.