Founding Pastor of Venice Parish dies

Father Vincent J. Sheehy, founding Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice and priest for 63 years, died June 13, 2024, at the age of 89.

Father Sheehy was born in Chicago, Illinois, and first had the idea of becoming a priest at the age of 13. His family moved to Florida when he was 17 before he decided to enter the seminary. As a seminarian, he studied at St. Columbans College in Milton, Massachusetts, and St. Bernard Seminary in Rochester, New York. He was Ordained to the Priesthood on May 14, 1961, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Miami by the ordaining prelate Bishop Coleman Francis Carroll.

For the Archdiocese of Miami he served at parishes in Miami, West Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, North Miami Beach and Riviera Beach. For the Archdiocese, Father also served as the treasurer, chairman of the building commission, Chaplain to the Miami Dolphins (1969-1984, including their perfect season in 1972), and consultor to the Archbishops.

When the Diocese of Venice was erected in 1984, Father Sheehy was incardinated and first served as Parochial Vicar at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Sarasota before becoming founding Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice in July 1986.

While at Our Lady of Lourdes, Father Sheehy oversaw the construction of a new Church, education building, Parish Hall, and other buildings on the property, and a rectory. During his 21 years at Our Lady of Lourdes the Parish grew to serve more than 2,000 registered families.

Upon retirement in 2007, Father Sheehy continued to assist at Our Lady of Lourdes, and at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Port Charlotte, and during the summer months at a Parish in Newport Beach, California.

A strong supporter of the Pro-Life movement, Father Sheehy set up several scholarships, through the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc., for Catholic school students from families who are actively involved in the Pro-Life outreach at their home Parishes.

Father Sheehy was a Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre and member of the Knights of Columbus.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on June 18, 2024, at Our Lady of Lourdes with Bishop Frank J. Dewane as the principal celebrant. The burial will occur on Monday, June 24, 2024, at 2:30 p.m., at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery in Doral, Florida.

Bishop Dewane said that Father Sheehy put the Gifts of God he was given into the work he did but much of what he did was not visible to all.

“By being the example, being the doer, he radiated that presence of the Lord in the concern he had for the people of the Parish and the Diocese,” Bishop Dewane said. “We are in debt to Father Vincent and give thanks for the gift he has given and life he lived.”

Father Janusz “Jay” Jancarz, Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes, described Father Sheehy as someone who lived the Gospel in all he said and did. “He did not seek anything to profit himself. He was humble, he was obedient, and he was meticulous in guarding the truth.”

Father Sheehy is survived by several nieces and nephews and many friends.

Please pray for the repose of his soul and consolation of his family. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in eternal peace.