|Msgr. Kelligar, former editor of Catholic Voice, dies at age 78|
Msgr. William L. Kelligar
At a funeral Mass Oct. 8 Msgr., William L. Kelligar, longtime advocate for the poor and editor of The Catholic Voice from 1963 to 1973, was remembered as someone who invited people to use their talents to make the world a better place.
Msgr. Kelligar, a retired priest of the archdiocese, died of congestive heart failure Oct. 5 at the Hospice House. He was 78.
Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss was the principal celebrant of the funeral Mass for the priest who served as executive director of Catholic Charities from 1975 to 1985 and 1990 to 1993. The Mass was at St. Mary Magdalene Church, where Msgr. Kelligar served as pastor from 1963 until his retirement in 1998. Burial was at Calvary Cemetery.
'Msgr. Kelligar created many services to assist the poor," said Father Emmett F. Meyer, homilist and longtime friend. 'He was very active in helping people and he thought the church should be involved in the world."
After taking over as editor of the Catholic Voice in June of 1963, Father Kelligar let his readers know his editorial philosophy: 'If it is true that an institution is the lengthened shadow of one man, then this newspaper will profit from a statement of the special viewpoint of the man who will guide its editorial policy. We would like to set forth three key ideas which are relevant to our time, and which establish a certain system of values against which our editorial comment can be measured. The most evident weaknesses of our current world suggest three concrete needs: an active sense of personal responsibility, a disciplined appetite for real Christian unity, and an underlying practice of accepting what we might call human solidarity."
Under Father Kelligar's leadership, the newspaper provided detailed explanations and staunch support to the decrees of Vatican II, and was a champion of civil rights.
Father Meyer said Msgr. Kelligar, named a Prelate of Honor to Pope John Paul II in 1998, encouraged people to develop their gifts and guided some of them to influential positions in the archdiocese.
'He left all the places he worked better than when he started," Father Meyer, pastor of St. John Parish in Valley, said. 'He was very human in his approach and very inviting to people."
A graduate of Auburn High School in 1943, he attended Creighton University, graduating in 1949. He then attended St. Paul Seminary and was ordained a priest in 1953.
After post graduate studies at Catholic University, Msgr. Kelligar was a teacher in Atkinson and Archbishop Ryan High School in Omaha.
'He was an avid reader who was very much involved in education and politics," Father Meyer said. 'His death is a big loss."
Msgr. Kelligar was preceded in death by his parents, Lee and Irene Kelligar of Auburn, and a brother, Robert, of Chicago. He is survived by many cousins.
Memorials are requested to the Priests Retirement Center, Catholic Charities Foundation, or the Monsignor William Kelligar Preservation Fund of St. Mary Magdalene Church.