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Teacher, Priest, Viatorian

October 1, 2015
Fr. Daniel Belanger, CSV, currently serving in Campus Ministry at Bishop Mac, joins with his confrere, Fr. Michael Keliher, CSV, during his 50th reunion

Fr. Daniel Belanger, CSV, currently serving in Campus Ministry at Bishop Mac, joins with his confrere, Fr. Michael Keliher, CSV, during his 50th reunion

Fr. Michael Keliher, CSV, returned to his roots recently when he attended his 50th reunion at Bishop McNamara High School.

His high school experience and religious vocation go hand in hand, since it was immediately following his graduation that he entered the Viatorian novitiate and one year later he took his first vows.

Looking back, his confreres point to Fr. Mike’s early years at St. Patrick Church in Kankakee, when Fr. Francis T. Williams, CSV, was pastor, as well as at the high school, where Fr. Norbert Bibeault, CSV, and Fr. Gene Lutz, CSV, both served as mentors.

Fr. Keliher currently serves as associate pastor at St. Thomas More Catholic Community in Henderson, Nevada. Since being ordained in 1976, he has spent more than 20 years serving the Las Vegas area, but he has not lost track of his Illinois roots.

Fr. Michael Keliher as a young novice, in 1965

Fr. Michael Keliher as a young novice, in 1965

Over his nearly 50 years of religious life, he has served as a biology teacher as well as golf and wrestling coach at Saint Viator High School, while also serving at St. Viator Parish in Chicago, Maternity BVM in Bourbonnais, St. Viator Catholic Community in Las Vegas and at his home parish, St. Patrick Church in Kankakee.

He currently directs the Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) at St. Thomas More, while helping with many of the pastoral duties of the large parish, which serves more than 6,000 families.

Through it all, Fr. Keliher holds dearly to his love of the Chicago White Sox — photos and memorabilia decorate his office — and he delights in cooking for his confreres. After being mentored by Viatorians early in life, ministering with the Viatorian Community has served him well.