Other Authors

A priest 57 years, and still ‘in the trenches’

By Dolores Madlener | Staff writer
Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father William Sheridan is a senior priest residing at St. Philip Neri Parish, 2132 E. 72nd St. He is a White Sox and Notre Dame fan and taught at Quigley North for 43 years. (Karen Callaway / Catholic New World)

He is: Father William Sheridan, senior priest, ordained by Cardinal Samuel Stritch in 1954. Former professor, spiritual director, and athletic director at Quigley Preparatory Seminary North. Has resided and ministered for the past 47 years at St. Philip Neri Parish on the Southeast Side.

Growing up: “There were eight children in our family, four boys and four girls.” (His late brother Robert also became an archdiocesan priest.)

“Dad was a yard clerk for the Pennsylvania Railroad and later on my mom was cashier at the Marquette, Highway and Colony theaters on the South Side.

“I went to St. Nicholas of Tolentine Grammar School and then Mount Carmel High School. After graduation I was a ‘special student’ at Quigley for two years, taking Latin and Greek before going on to Mundelein. I love sports and we played a lot of sports as students at Quigley. My favorites were hockey, ‘boorball’ (like touch football) and 16-inch baseball.”

Adult years at Quigley: After his appointment to the teaching staff at Quigley in 1957, he spent five summers at the University of Notre Dame to get his master’s degree in classical language.

“Our average class size at Quigley in the late ’50s and early ’60s, was about 45 students. Enrollment was around 1,400. That’s why they had to build Quigley South.

“I’m very close to our alumni and directed the alumni for a while. We have a special bond. I meet a lot of the priests who were former students of mine on various occasions and it’s wonderful.

“My brother Robert and I taught for a total of 83 years — he was at Quigley South for 45 years and I taught at Quigley North for 43 years.”

Concerns as a senior priest: “The Priests Retirement & Mutual Aid Association takes very, very good care of us. If we have a question about insurance or anything we just make a phone call. And we’re not put on hold or told to call back. We senior priests are treated like VIPs. They’re wonderful and we’re grateful.”

Typical day: “I perform the sacraments, and visit the hospitals and rest homes. Priestly work, but no meetings! I used to play a lot of golf, but not much anymore. About five or six of our classmates get together every Thursday for lunch, and we participate in any diocesan activities we can. I’m a big White Sox fan and get out to a game whenever possible, and an avid Notre Dame fan as well.”

Looking back on it all: “I can say without a doubt, the greatest blessing of my life has been the gift of priesthood.”