Sunday, July 27, 2008

Death of Msgr. Richard Dierkes

With sadness we report the death of Msgr. Richard Dierkes this afternoon. Following is a preliminary release from the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph:

Reverend Msgr. Richard Michael Dierkes
Former Rector of Co-Cathedral Parish

February 26, 1955 ~ July 27, 2008
Catholic Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph

(St. Joseph, MO / July 27, 08) Reverend Msgr. Richard Dierkes, former rector of Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph and pastor of St. Joseph Parish, in Easton, and St. Patrick Parish in St. Joseph died earlier today in Chicago, Illinois.

Msgr. Dierkes was born in Hannibal, MO, on February 26, 1955, the second of nine children of Thomas P. and Dorothy Dierkes. His childhood and young adulthood was spent in Independence, MO. He attended elementary school at St. Mary and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and graduated from Truman High School in 1973. While attending college at Rockhurst University, he discerned a call to the Catholic priesthood. He attended Conception Seminary College, in Conception, MO, and received a Master’s in Theology from Kenrick Seminary, in St. Louis, MO.

He was ordained for the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph on April 25, 1981, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in Kansas City, MO. After ordination, he served as associate pastor in Parkville, Blue Springs, and St. Peter Parish, in Kansas City.

On the day of his ordination, Bishop John J. Sullivan described the role of a priest as one that changes with the needs of the people, but which is always one of service. In the sermon, Bishop Sullivan reminded the assembly that although Jesus is truly a king, “Jesus was always a servant of men. . . he had no trappings of being a king. In a society in which it is so important to be powerful. . .Christ the King is a contradiction,” he said.

Msgr. Dierkes took the words of Bishop Sullivan to heart and lived out his priesthood as a servant of the people.

Funeral arrangements and complete obituary will follow.

Msgr. Dierkes had been receiving treatment at the University of Chicago - Comer Children's Hospital. During his stay there, members of his family set up a "care page" for him where well-wishers could post messages and receive updates. Msgr. Dierkes had been posting to the site up till this week.

Messages of sympathy are now coming in. If you wish to view the site, create a free account at and search for "Richard Dierkes".