Retired Archbishop Michael Sheehan dies at age 83

KOAT [Albuquerque NM]

June 4, 2023

By Hamilton Kahn

Advocate for human rights led Santa Fe Archdiocese for 22 years

Michael Jarboe Sheehan, who retired in 2015 as Archbishop of Santa Fe, died Saturday at age 83, a news release from the Santa Fe Archdiocese said.

Born in Wichita Kansas, Sheehan was ordained as a priest in 1964. He served as First Bishop of Lubbock, Texas, and Apostolic Administrator of Santa Fe before being named Archbishop in 1993.

The release said that Sheehan “was deeply committed to social justice, evangelization, and worked tirelessly to abolish the death penalty in New Mexico. He championed initiatives aimed at eradicating poverty, promoting equality, and ensuring the well-being of the most vulnerable members of society.”

As reported by Reginia Ruiz for KOAT in 2014, Sheehan “inherited a diocese rocked with scandal.” In a 2015 interview with KOAT, he said Sheehan said there were many problems when he first joined the archdiocese. In a 2015 interview with KOAT, he said he’d had to remove more than 25 priests found guilty of sexual abuse during his 22 years a Archbishop.

He was succeeded as Archbishop of Santa Fe by John C. Wester.

In 2018, Sheehan sent a letter to parishioners saying he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.