Rev. Michael T. Madden dies at age 71

Special to The Message

Rev. Michael T. Madden, 71, a retired priest of the Diocese of Evansville, died Sept. 4 at Scenic Hills, at Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, with his mother, Helena, and youngest sister, Kathy, at his side. 

Born on April 1, 1949, in Washington, he was the first of six children of Bernard J. and Helena (Strange) Madden. He spent a lifetime, it seems, contributing to the notion that first-borns are overachievers. 

Father Mike recognized his calling at an early age. At the celebration of the 40th anniversary of his ordination, he recalled his First Communion. If the first one was this good, he reasoned, the second and all subsequent celebrations of the Eucharist would be even better. And so it was. 

He attended St. Simon’s Elementary School in Washington, graduating with the inaugural class in 1963. He began his formal training for the priesthood at Magister Noster Latin School in Evansville, receiving his diploma in 1967. He went on to attend St. Meinrad College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971. 

Upon nomination of Bishop Francis R. Shea, he was accepted as a student in the Canisianum in Innsbruck, Austria, to pursue his theological studies. He entered the Canisianum in the fall of 1971 and received his theology degree in July 1975. He returned to the U.S. only once during his four-year tenure.

Bishop Shea ordained him to the priesthood on Aug. 22, 1975, at St. Simon Catholic Church in Washington. 

His pastoral service included:

First Appointments: Sept. 1, 1975, Associate Pastor, St. Wendel Parish, St. Wendel, and Assistant to the Officialis, Diocesan Tribunal

Subsequent Appointments:

  • March 1, 1977: Associate Pastor, Christ the King Parish, Evansville, and continue in the Diocesan Tribunal
  • Jan. 1, 1980: part-time teacher at Reitz Memorial High School, continue at Christ the King Parish and in the Diocesan Tribunal
  • Sept. 1, 1980: Relieved of duties in the Diocesan Tribunal, continue at Christ the King Parish and Reitz Memorial High School
  • April 3, 1981: Temporary Administrator, Holy Spirit Parish, Evansville, continue at Christ the King Parish and Reitz Memorial High School
  • Aug. 10, 1981: Associate Pastor, Holy Spirit Parish, Evansville, continue at Reitz Memorial High School
  • June 28, 1984: Pastor, St. James Parish, Haubstadt
  • July 30, 1997: Pastor, Holy Spirit Parish, Evansville
  • July 8, 1998: Pastor, St. Matthew Parish, Mount Vernon
  • Aug. 7, 2002: Pastor, Holy Name Parish, Bloomfield
  • July 2, 2008: Pastor, St. Peter Parish, Linton, continue as Pastor of Holy Name Parish
  • Dec. 4, 2013: Pastor, St. Anthony Parish, St. Anthony, and Sacred Heart Parish, Schnellville

Father Mike served as Dean of the Princeton Deanery from 1987 to 1994, and he also served three five-year terms on the Diocese of Evansville College of Consultors – one term each under three bishops: Bishop Shea, Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger and Bishop Charles C. Thompson. He retired from pastoral ministry on Jan. 13, 2016.

During his time as pastor of St. James in Haubstadt, he spearheaded the construction of an addition to St. James Elementary School. Through his persistence, he succeeded in securing the necessary funding. When informed at the dedication by members of the Parish Council that the addition was to be named after him, he objected, insisting that buildings and other structures are typically named after dead people. The council was unmoved. Today, Madden Hall stands in Haubstadt as a testament to his persistence.

His mind was complex, but his philosophy was simple. All things are done in the service of God.

Father Mike was preceded in death by his father, Bernard J., and one brother, J. Christopher. 

Survivors include his mother, Helena Madden of Washington; two brothers: Dennis (Janice) Madden of Bloomington and James Madden of Valparaiso; two sisters Kathleen (Mike) Burns of Columbus and Rebecca (Roy) Anderson of Huntley, Illinois; six nieces; one nephew; three grandnieces; and one grandnephew.

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel celebrated a Mass of Christian Burial on Sept. 10 at Our Lady of Hope Parish in Washington. Interment followed in the Priests Circle of St. John’s Cemetery in Washington.

Please keep Father Mike and his family in your prayers.