Fr. John G. Yockey, a retired priest and former pastor who wrote a Scripture Reflections column for the Catholic Herald since 2011, passed away on July 28, 2021, at Angel’s Grace Hospice.
A Memorial Mass for Fr. Yockey will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, at St. Jerome Catholic Church, 995 S. Silver Lake St., Oconomowoc.
Dr. Kathie Amidei is the pastoral associate at St. Anthony on the Lake, where Fr. Yockey served as a help-out priest since retiring in 2015. She paid tribute to him at Masses the weekend of July 30-Aug. 1.
“Fr. John was absolutely beloved here at St. Anthony’s for his compassion, gentleness and humility,” Dr. Amidei said. “Our parishioners are heartbroken that he will no longer lead us in worship and minister to us. We are sad for us but know he went directly into God’s loving arms. He had a great devotion to Mary. He led us in praying the Memorare every week at Mass. One of our parishioners said he was sure Mary must have been the first to greet him in heaven.”
Fr. Yockey was born June 14, 1944, in Milwaukee, and began his formation at Mount Sinai Paul College in Waukesha in 1967. He attended the University of Dallas from 1967-70 and Marquette University from 1971-84. His priestly formation began at Spring Bank Abbey in Oconomowoc from 1965-69. He was ordained to the priesthood by Most Rev. Leo J. Brust on July 23, 1970, at Our Lady of Spring Bank Abbey in Oconomowoc.
Fr. Yockey was first assigned to Our Lady of Spring Bank Cistercian Abbey in Oconomowoc. He joined the faculty at St. Francis de Sales College in 1973. On April 23, 1979, he incardinated into the Archdiocese of Milwaukee from the Cistercian Order. He joined the faculty at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners part-time on July 1, 1981. On Oct. 1, 1981, he was assigned as part-time pastor at St. Agnes in Milwaukee. He became full-time faculty at Sacred Heart School of Theology on July 1, 1982. On Sept. 1, 1983, he was released to teach at Washington Theological Union in Silver Spring, Maryland. Fr. Yockey was assigned as pastor at St. Philip Neri in Milwaukee on June 23, 1992. On June 24, 1997, he was assigned as pastor at St. Jerome in Oconomowoc. He retired on June 27, 2015.
During her tribute to Fr. Yockey at Mass, Dr. Amidei said, “While we knew Fr. John best as our weekend assisting priest, we know he had a full-time treasured place in the hearts of so many of us in our parish. He will be remembered for his kindness — that he continually expressed in appreciation for our community — his good heart, his thoughtful, uplifting homilies, and his cheerful presence in the many ways he served us. We know we have been blessed to have Fr. John among us. He lived his faith with wisdom and kindness and was a witness of Christ’s love, mercy and grace to us. The Scripture quote from Corinthians, in his obituary, is fitting as his last message to us, ‘Every day God gifts you. Be sure to say thanks in the way he finds most pleasing. Share your blessings cheerfully.’”
His final Herald column, on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, was turned in days before his death and ran in the July 29 issue.
A private burial for Fr. Yockey will be held in the parish cemetery at St. Jerome.