Records from Conception Seminary College in Conception, Mo., show that Ratigan entered the school as a freshman undergraduate in 1996, 12 years after he graduated from high school. And though he said later that he’d worried about whether he could do the work, he graduated on schedule in 2000. Ratigan later joined Conception’s Board of Regents with about 30 others, including Finn.
Ratigan followed his work at Conception with four years of graduate theological studies at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago.
After his ordination in Kansas City on June 4, 2004, Ratigan joined St. Thomas More parish in Kansas City as associate pastor. Cahill remembered him as always being present for church events.
“He was very outgoing,” she said. “It was a time when the parish needed that sense of involvement.”
Only in retrospect, she said, did she realize that he carried a camera to every event.
And while at St. Thomas More, Ratigan met and became friends with Michele Kerwin and her family.
He taught her daughter knock-knock jokes and would engage Kerwin in long, good-natured theological debates.
“Shawn was conservative,” Kerwin recalled. “He would say, ‘There was a wrong way and the church’s way.’ I would say to him, ‘The church was not always right.’
“He would say, ‘Michele, you just have to trust the church.’ ”
There’s much more, and it’s pretty fascinating. Read it all.