On the early morning hours of Monday, November 27, 2023, God summoned one of his most dedicated and loved shepherds to him, Father Donald Cullen.
Father Donald Cullen was ordained on June 5, 1971, at the Queen of the Holy Rosary. On July 3, 1971, he was assigned as an associate to Assumption Parish in Topeka, Kansas. On August 18, 1974, he was assigned as an associate at St. Joseph Parish in Shawnee, Kansas. On August 8, 1978, he was assigned as an associate to St. Paul Parish in Olathe, Kansas and as Chaplain to St. Joseph High School in Shawnee, Kansas. On July 14, 1979, he was assigned as an associate to St. John Evangelist Parish in Lawrence, Kansas. On July 12, 1980, he was assigned as Pastor to St. Patrick Parish in Osage City and Scranton, Kansas. In January of 1984, he was assigned also as a Pastor of St. Francis Parish in Lapeer, Kansas. On July 11, 1986, he was assigned as Pastor to St. Paul Parish in Olathe, Kansas. On July 10, 1992, he was assigned as Pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Roeland Park, Kansas. On July 15, 2005, he was granted a leave of absence to care for his elderly mother, Nell Cullen. On July 14, 2006, he was assigned as Pastor of Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish in Overland Park, Kansas. On July 5, 2013, Father Cullen retired.
His 52 years of service as a priest represent his commitment to the Catholic Church. Father Cullen was widely known and respected for his years of service and his compassion and dedication to his faith, but also his care and consideration of everyone he came into contact with. Father Cullen had the remarkable ability to remember a person’s name years after he had met the individual. Father Cullen was a rare individual who cared for anyone he met and would go out of his way to spend time with people and help them. His demeanor was always positive and supportive of everyone that he met. Father Cullen’s positive approach to life and his ability to explain the Catholic teachings resulted in hundreds of individuals converting to the Catholic faith, especially bringing Catholics who had fallen away back into the Catholic Church. At each parish that he ended his tenure before beginning a new assignment, hundreds of parishioners would attend his departure reception and thank him for his tremendous service and dedication. Father Cullen wherever he went was always recognized and greeted by former parishioners and individuals he had counseled and assisted.
Father Cullen was also well traveled. He had visited India, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and other international venues.
Senator Robert Dole invited Father Cullen to give the opening prayer at the United States Senate to open their proceedings. Father Cullen accepted the invitation and opened the Senate proceedings with a prayer and was thanked by Senator Dole and other senators for his services.
Father Cullen, while in Rome, Italy in 2010 was invited to attend a papal address by Pope Benedict and was given a front row seat to the address and had an opportunity to meet Pope Benedict. He enjoyed travels to Maine and other locations in the United States. Father Cullen cared for his mother, Nell Cullen, until at the age of 96 when she passed away in 2006. He has an extended family who he interacted with extensively for the last 15 years and who assisted and cared for Father Cullen during his recent hospitalization and in hospice.
While most individuals in the world today are concerned about themselves, Father Cullen was the rare individual who gave of himself to his parishioners and individuals seeking his help, guidance and assistance was his first priority.
Father Cullen was an individual who cared for his flock as his first priority and secondarily for himself.
After his retirement, Father Cullen was extremely generous with his time, saying numerous masses in parishes over the Kansas City Diocese on a frequent basis not only giving the parish priest a break but providing for the parishioners a down to earth explanation and providing guidance that was understandable, pragmatic and educational for all those in attendance.
Father Cullen was an individual who was caring, compassionate and a highly respected and a loved individual who was able to spread the word of God in an understandable manner to hundreds of people. Father Cullen was a rare individual who will be greatly missed and his passing leaves a void that will not soon be filled.
Father Richard Storey, Pastor of Curé of the Ars Parish, a close friend and colleague of Father Cullen, will preside over the rosary at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 30, 2023 and will conduct the funeral mass on December 1, 2023, at 11:00 a.m., both of which will be at Curé of the Ars. In lieu of flowers, please provide a donation in the name of Father Donald Cullen to Operation Breakthrough or the Duchesne Clinic.