The Viatorian Community is mourning the loss of Fr. Michael Keliher, who passed away Sept. 10 after a long battle with cancer. He was 74.

Fr. Michael Keliher met with St. Thomas More parishioners when he celebrated 50 years as a Viatorian in 2016.

Fr. Keliher was a Viatorian for 55 years — including 45 as a priest — and over those years his ministry evolved from one as a teacher and coach at Saint Viator High School, to a much loved parish priest who had a special interest in accompanying adults interested in becoming Catholics.

Fr. Keliher directed the RCIA programs (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) at both St. Thomas More Catholic Community in Henderson, NV and at St. Viator Parish in Chicago.

“He welcomed inquirers and met with each one personally,” says Fr. Patrick Render, CSV, who served as pastor of St. Thomas More with Fr. Keliher, who served as associate pastor.

“The program and team that he assembled at St. Thomas More, was exceptional,” Fr. Render added, “and a model for other parishes.”

Fr. Keliher was a devoted White Sox fan and passed away while watching his team win.

He began his pastoral ministry in 1986 at Maternity BVM Parish in Bourbonnais, where he served as an associate pastor, before being assigned in 1990 to St. Viator Catholic Community in Las Vegas.

“He did not speak loudly,” said Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV, who served as pastor at St. Viator Parish in Chicago when Fr. Keliher was associate pastor, “but people listened and appreciated his homilies and friendly welcoming.”