|Birth: ||Jun. 17, 1933|
Aragon (Catron County)
New Mexico, USA
|Death: ||Feb. 13, 2010|
Father Richard Milligan, founding pastor of St. Luke's Catholic Church in North Phoenix, went unexpectedly to Heaven Feb. 13, 2010.
Father Milligan was born in Aragon, New Mexico, a small farming community near the Arizona border, on June 17, 1933. He received his vocation at an early age, and was only 15 when he went to St. Thomas Seminary in Denver.
He received his MA in 1960 and was ordained by Most Rev. Bernard T. Espelage, OFM (Diocese of Gallup) in June of that year. His first appointment was to Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Flagstaff, where he began his graduate studies. Two years later he moved to Winslow, where he was associate pastor of St. Joseph's Parish, as well as chaplain to the sisters there. He became administrator of St. Joseph's in 1967, where he served for two more years before moving back to Flagstaff to become pastor of St. Pius X. He remained there until 1984.
In 1970, Father Milligan also became a member of the Priests' Advisory Board for Vocations. At the forefront of the Cursillo movement, Father Milligan was instrumental in its introduction to Arizona, and served as Diocesan Director of Cursillo at Bishop Espelage's request for eight years.
Father Milligan came to Phoenix in 1985 to start St. Luke's Parish. Last month at the 25th anniversary celebration mass, he recalled celebrating the first mass of the parish with a small group of new parishioners, in his driveway, which he referred to as the "Carport Cathedral." Due largely to his tireless leadership, the church grew, and now includes a complex of buildings. He took pride in announcing that all debt was paid off two years ago.
Known for his approachable manner and gentle humor, Father Milligan touched uncounted lives. He will be remembered for his leadership by example, his inspirational yet candid homilies, and his self-deprecating style. Father Milligan never scolded or judged; he often reminded people that he was simply a fellow Catholic on the journey of faith, flawed and yet dedicated to serving God the best he could. He recently stated that during his priesthood, he had baptized more than 4,000 new Catholics, many of them infants.
During his quarter-century at St. Luke's, he was the only pastor an entire generation of Catholics has known. Plans were already in the works by parishioners for the golden anniversary celebration of his ordination this coming June.
He is survived by his sisters, Rose Chavez and Sister Adelia Milligan and brothers, Daniel and John Milligan and his flock at St. Luke's.
While stunned by the loss of their leader, Father Milligan's parishioners take solace in knowing that they have a staunch advocate in Heaven, and rejoice for him that he is now even closer to the God he has loyally served all these years.
Visitation at St. Luke's Church Monday, Feb. 22nd from 8-11 a.m., with a rosary at 10 a.m. Funeral Mass at St. Luke's Church on Monday Feb. 22nd at 11 a.m. Inurnment will be held at Desert Hills Memorial Park.
Arrangements entrusted to Hansen Desert Hills Mortuary 480-991-5800.
(Obituary published in Arizona Republic, 02/17/2010.)
Hansens Desert Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary
Plot: Solace Niche Garden I
Created by: Barb
Record added: Feb 17, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 48239860
Added: Feb. 17, 2014
Fr. Milligan and the Holy Spirit were very instrimental in helping a Jewish woman to become Catholic. After attending St. Luke's, with my Husband Alan who was already a convert, we moved to St. Thomas the Apostle where I went through Catachesim and becam...(Read more)|
Added: Apr. 13, 2011
Father Milligan was the greatest priest in the world. He baptized three of my children and seven of my grandchildren.|
Added: Aug. 15, 2010
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