Tricounty News

Msgr. Garvey’s legacy continues in retirement

The Church of Our Lady of Manannah helps Msgr. Garvey celebrate retirement

The well-wishers came to thank the Most Reverend Msgr. Francis Garvey this past Sunday, Aug. 18, for his faithful years of service now that he is retired.

However, retirement does not mean Garvey will soon be fishing or sitting idly in his rocking chair.

Even though he officially retired July 1, Garvey is still staying busy, officiating at Mass from time to time, and performing 
pastoral duties as they are needed.

It is fitting that Garvey retire in Manannah. He was born on a farm three miles north of the tiny Meeker County village in 1933, making him a wise man of 80. He was the last of seven children born to Dennis and Susan Garvey.

He attended country school and then Eden Valley High School before heading to the seminary. He was ordained on Feb. 22, 1959. His first parish assignments were in Hutchinson and Silver Lake and then New Ulm. He then became the chaplain at the Willmar State Hospital where he faithfully served for 39 years.

“It was very challenging and rewarding as well,” Garvey said of the assignment in Willmar.
“I touched the lives of thousands of people.

While at the state facility,
Garvey also served as pastor of
nearby St. Patrick’s Parish in
Kandiyohi for 35 years.

And then, in 1996, he was asked of serve the Church of Our Lady of Manannah, just miles from where he grew up. He did not request the assignment. On the contrary,
Garvey was a bit worried about going back home to serve in front of relatives and friends.

“I had a lot of reservations about it,” he said from behind his desk in the parish house. “I adjusted and it has been a wonderful 17 years.”

Garvey and the parishioners have been busy during that time.

“We’ve remodeled everything,” he said of the parish that is supportive of its church.

There were 217 parishioners when Garvey first stepped up to the altar. There are 660 today. When teased about his doing something right to attract so many new parishioners, Garvey shrugs and says it is because the parishioners enjoy what the church has to offer.

Old age has taken a bit of a toll on Garvey. He walks with a cane and his health is not the best. He has had both heart and kidney problems and, of late, he has been cursed with shingles.

Nonetheless, he said he is looking forward to retirement and taking it “one day at a time. That’s all you can hope for at this age.”