Msgr. Shafer, Father Connolly celebrate jubilees

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The Catholic Messenger

Two diocesan priests celebrate milestone anniversaries this year — Msgr. Drake Shafer (50 years) and Father Paul Connolly (40 years).

  • Msgr. Shafer

    Msgr. Shafer studied at St. Joseph College-Edgerton, Wis­con­sin, St. Ambrose College-Davenport and completed his theology and advanced studies at the American College of Catholic University of Louvain-Belgium. On July 28, 1973, Bishop Gerald O’Keefe ordained Father Shafer to the priesthood at his home parish of St. Alphonsus in Davenport. He served at St. Mary Parish-Fort Madison; Sacred Heart Parish-Clinton; was on faculty and served as chaplain and dean of students at St. Ambrose College (now university); and served as vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Davenport. After a leave of absence, he served at St. Ann Parish-Long Grove until his retirement in 2020.

He will celebrate a Mass in late July at St. Ann Parish-Long Grove.

As he reflects on 50 years as a priest, Msgr. Shafer is grateful to God for “all the graces I have experienced. First, that I have celebrated the sacraments through which the grace of God is realized. When I think of all the Masses, baptisms, reconciliations, marriages and anointings I have been able to celebrate through which God’s grace has flowed I am humbled and feel immensely blessed. I’m also grateful beyond words for all of the people and places I have ministered to. I am very grateful for all the people who have encouraged and supported me and been patient with my limitations and failings.”

  • Father Connolly studied at Coe College-Cedar Rapids before entering the seminary. He taught physical education to kindergarten through fifth-grade students and was a wrestling and
    Fr. Connolly

    softball coach for the WACO Community School District. He then completed theology studies at St. Paul Seminary-St. Paul, Minnesota. On June 11, 1983, Bishop O’Keefe ordained Father Connolly to the priesthood at Our Lady of Lourdes Church-Bettendorf.

Father Connolly served at Sacred Heart Parish-Clinton; Holy Family Parish-Daven­port; St. Boniface Par­ish-Farmington; St. Mary Parish-String Prair­ie; Assumption High School-Davenport; St. Joseph Parish-East Pleasant Plain; St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish-Richland; All Saints Parish-Keokuk; St. Joseph Parish-Montrose; St. Joseph Parish-DeWitt; and St. Anne Parish-Welton. He currently serves at St. Alphonsus Parish-Mount Pleasant.

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A celebration for Father Connolly took place earlier this month in Mount Pleasant.
Father Connolly said, “One of the most humbling parts of being a priest is that we are a part of the joys and sorrows of our parishioners’ lives. Celebrating the baptism of a child, helping a couple prepare for the sacrament of matrimony, sitting with a family in the hospital as they face a tough medical issue, and when the time comes helping a family celebrate the Mass of the Resurrection. But the greatest is celebrating the Eucharist on a weekly basis with a great family of faith in a parish.”


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