Obituary

Father O’Kane was a valued spiritual director for men in formation for the diaconate

Father Patrick O’Kane, a priest of the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa, made a lasting mark in Omaha through his contributions to the Institute for Priestly Formation and the archdiocese’s Permanent Diaconate.

Father O’Kane died Jan. 2 in Omaha. He was 72.

Visitation will be Jan. 7 from 5 to 8 p.m. with a Rosary at 6 p.m. and vigil service at 7 p.m., at All Saints Parish (formerly St. Joseph Church) in LeMars, Iowa. A funeral Mass will be held Jan. 8 at 10:30 a.m. at the church (livestreamed on the parish YouTube page) with burial at Calvary Cemetery in LeMars.

Father O’Kane, who was born in Sibley, Iowa, attended St. Thomas Seminary in Denver and Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis.

He was ordained for the Sioux City diocese in 1977 and served as a parish priest and a high school teacher and administrator. He went on to serve six years as superintendent of schools for the diocese.

He also earned a master’s degree in Education Administration from Omaha’s Creighton University and a special degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Dayton in Ohio.

Father O’Kane began honing his ministry as a spiritual director in 2002 when he began attending training at the Institute for Priestly Formation (IPF) in Omaha, eventually becoming an IPF faculty member for the organization’s summer programs.

In 2017, he was awarded the organization’s Saint John Paul II Award for Priestly Service in recognition of his service to IPF and his “exemplary priestly life,” said Father Richard Gabuzda, IPF director of programming and mission.

“He had an incredibly fruitful ministry here,” Father Gabuzda said, thanks to his expertise in education, which helped IPF design curriculum and course review processes during its early years.

Five years ago, he began serving as a spiritual director and confessor for men in formation for the diaconate, said Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor and director of the Permanent Diaconate for the Omaha archdiocese.

“The men in formation really valued him as a spiritual director,” he said. “And he was directing many of them outside of formation. He was very generous with his time. He was a holy man.”

Despite health challenges, he was happy to remain active through the diaconate program, Deacon McNeil said. He also celebrated Mass and heard confessions at Omaha-area churches.

Father O’Kane was preceded in death by parents, Richard and Lucille O’Kane, and brother, Tim O’Kane. He is survived by siblings and spouses, Kathleen and Ward Kinney of Council Bluffs, Iowa, Bridget and Mark Banke of Omaha, Peg and Roger Sitzmann of Chanhassen, Minnesota, and Mike and Cindy O’Kane of Logan, Iowa; sister-in-law Sandy O’Kane of Omaha; and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.