Father Tim Sheedy
Pastor, St. Mary of Solon
How did you know you were being called to priesthood? As a child, even in second grade, I really felt that God wanted me to do something special in my life. I would leave the playground at St. Mary’s (in Ottumwa) during recess and go into the church and pray. My second-grade teacher would come in and ask why I was there. I’d say “I’m praying to God.” She said, “You’re not supposed to be in the church during recess. Go back on the playground and play.” I just felt that God wanted me to serve the church and I had a strong calling to be a priest very young. By my senior year of high school I knew I had to find out. I went to St. Ambrose and was there for four years and then went to Catholic University Theological College in Washington, D.C., for major seminary.
My first assignment was St. Paul the Apostle in Davenport.
Aside from your ordination Mass, what was your most memorable Mass? I would say my father’s funeral. He died 16 years ago. Just to be able to celebrate Mass and to give his funeral homily was truly a very special time. It was a difficult time, but also a very special time for me to give back to my father what my dad gave me: life and the example of faith.
What is most rewarding about being a priest? Helping people, celebrating the Eucharist, hearing confessions, just being present to people who need your help and support and strength. A priest is really a source of strength for people going through difficult times.
It gives you great satisfaction to know you are helping people in their time of need.
I’m also glad to have had the opportunity for diversity in my ministry. My background was elementary school principal. I got my master’s in elementary education administration from the University of Iowa in 1981. I was principal in Burlington and in DeWitt and at Holy Family in Davenport. I also was a chaplain at Trinity Hospitals in Moline, Ill., from 1991-94. It’s important for priests to have variety in ministry and service. That’s what has kept my priesthood exciting and challenging.
What is most challenging about being a priest? The financial end; I really feel that I spend a lot of time dealing with the finances of the parish and the school. Just trying to keep the parish financially viable … I feel I’m called to help others, not to be a CEO.
What is your favorite Scripture passage? 2 Timothy 4:7-8. “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but all who have longed for his appearance.”
What is your hobby? I like to read, go to movies and travel.