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Former Topeka priest the Rev. Pete O’Sullivan dies at age 65

The Rev. Pete O'Sullivan, a Roman Catholic priest who served churches in Topeka, Emporia,...
The Rev. Pete O'Sullivan, a Roman Catholic priest who served churches in Topeka, Emporia, Nortonville, Valley Falls, Overland Park and Paola, died Saturday at the age of 65.(KVOE Radio)
Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 6:30 AM CDT
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SHAWNEE, Kan. (WIBW) - A former Topeka priest, who also served Roman Catholic churches in Emporia, Nortonville, Valley Falls, Overland Park and Paola, has died.

The Rev. Pete O’Sullivan, 65, died after Saturday after a brief battle against head and neck cancer, according to his obituary.

O’Sullivan was born Dec. 23, 1955, to James F. and Margaret R. O’Sullivan.

He served as a diocesan priest for 38 years.

According to his obituary, O’Sullivan grew up in Shawnee, where he was salutatorian of the St. Joseph High School class of 1974.

He played on the offensive line on the football team and ran hurdles on the track team.

He was an all-state football player and was selected to play in the first Shrine Bowl.

O’Sullivan received a football scholarship to Washburn University in Topeka and played until an injury during his junior year. He was getting his degree in mathematics, history and education with plans to coach and teach. 

After leaving Washburn, O’Sullivan went to the U.S. Marine Corps in Quantico, Va., where he discerned his vocation to be a priest. O’Sullivan then attended St. Louis University, where he received a Master’s in Theology degree.

O’Sullivan was ordained at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Shawnee on June 4, 1983, then served as a deacon at Annunciation Catholic Church in Frankfort.

During his first ten years as a priest, O’Sullivan also taught at local Catholic high schools where he served. 

His first parish was Christ the King Catholic Church in Kansas City, Kan., where he taught at Bishop Ward High School for three years. 

O’Sullivan then came to Topeka, where he served at Christ the King and St. Joseph churches. While he was serving churches in Topeka, O’Sullivan also taught at Hayden High School for four years. 

He later served as pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Nortonville and Immaculate Conception in Valley Falls while teaching at Maur Hill Academy in Atchison for three years. 

O’Sullivan also served at St. Pius in Mission and both Sacred Heart and St. Catherine’s parishes in Emporia.

O’Sullivan then returned to Topeka, where he served at Christ the King Catholic Church, before being assigned to Queen of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Overland Park.

He was serving at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Paola at the time of his death.

All services will be at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 11311 Johnson Drive, in Shawnee, which is his home parish.

A Rosary will be prayed at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17, followed by a visitation until 8 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 18.

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