The Scriptural message at the end of the liturgical year was what we might expect in describing the “end times.” The prospect of the future was personally applied to us all and called for preparation. The warning was that we can never determine the time when the advent of Christ will ask of us an accounting of our stewardship at the end of our lives.
The death of Father Brian Shepley last week was an emphatic presentation of the Scripture’s truth. A reality of faith for us — yes, but never consciously lived out and therefore, not expected —“a shock” we say, at such an early age.
Certainly, Fr. Brian hardly had enough time to fully adjust to his new assignment at St. Alphonsus Parish in Mount Pleasant. He had so much to look forward to — not even time to plan for the celebration of his 25th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood next year.
A native of Charles City, Iowa, and the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Father Brian responded to his call to the priesthood in the Diocese of Davenport. His service in the diocese began in Keokuk and in the same deanery it was completed. He found part of the pastoral ministry was teaching in Cardinal Stritch High School in Keokuk. It was a gift that was shared with students at Assumption in Davenport and the parish in Wilton.
A special concern for the elderly and suffering was another important place in Father’s ministry. In the course of other parochial assignments, he found time to spend weekly visits at the VA Hospital in Iowa City to assist the chaplains in their ministry.
Life shared in the service of others was also divided with his special talents of cooking, antiques, travel and time with his three dogs.
It was Fr. Brian’s choice to return home for burial, joining his parents at their final resting place. He will be missed. Taken from the roll of active priests of the diocese, his passing has reduced their number. That’s one more from an already short list.
Fr. Brian, our farewell is our thanks for nearly 25 years of service to the People of God of the local church. We rejoice with you, assured of being prepared in the spirit of Advent. “Gaudete”! Well done, Faithful Servant! We sing rejoice again and you’ll be home for Christmas.
— Msgr. Francis Henricksen
Fr. Brian Shepley — 1962-2016
Father Brian Shepley, 54, a priest of the Diocese of Davenport, died suddenly Dec. 6 at St. Alphonsus Parish in Mount Pleasant where he served as pastor.
Fr. Shepley was born Jan. 27, 1962, in Charles City, Iowa, the son of John and Eleanor (Emen) Shepley. He attended North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City and the University of Iowa before graduating from St. Ambrose College in Davenport. He began his theological studies at Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Ill., and continued his studies at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wis. On June 12, 1992, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Gerald O’Keefe at St. Joseph Church in DeWitt.
Fr. Shepley served as parochial vicar for the Church of All Saints-Keokuk from 1992-95 and St. Mary-Iowa City from 1995-98. He served as pastor of St. Mary-Wilton from 1998-2004, school chaplain at Assumption High School-Davenport from 1998-2002, and pastor of St. Andrew-Blue Grass from 2000-04, and St Bridget-Victor and St. Patrick-Brooklyn from 2004-16. He became pastor of St. Alphonsus-Mount Pleasant in 2016. Fr. Shepley also served as chaplain at the VA Medical Center in Iowa City and as a representative for the Iowa Catholic Conference for the Diocese of Davenport.
His funeral was held Dec. 12 at St. Alphonsus. Rite of Committal took place Dec. 13 in Charles City.