I was looking for a diocesan priest to serve at Conception Seminary College as a spiritual director to the seminarians. Several priests from my home diocese of Tulsa had recommended Msgr. Patrick Gaalaas. A few weeks later, when I was visiting my family on vacation, my mother handed me a copy of the Eastern Oklahoma Catholic magazine thinking I might be interested in reading it. There, on the cover, was Msgr. Gaalaas. I am not always the best at noticing God’s signs, but as I paged through the magazine and perused the article on Msgr. Gaalaas, I could not help but note the impeccable timing. After writing a letter to Msgr. Gaalaas, he replied by expressing his openness to serve seminarians after his retirement from many years of parish ministry.
Msgr. Gaalaas arrived at Conception in August 2022 and has been serving as spiritual director to the seminarians. His impact on the seminary community is evident every day. He has a gentle and kind demeanor that makes him both approachable and a most welcome addition to our seminary faculty. He is intentional, thoughtful, and caring, exemplifying important attributes of a parish priest, from his disarming smile and friendly greetings to his prayerful example and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and even through many moments of good humor. Conception puts a strong emphasis on community life and formators that are eager to get to know the seminarians well. Msgr. Gaalaas is present to the seminarians’ needs, engages with them in passing conversation, and challenges them in his favorite game: chess.
Msgr. Gaalaas has a strong affinity for the writings of G.K. Chesterton, collecting fountain pens, and eating ice cream. After serving for 50 years as a priest of the Diocese of Tulsa, Msgr. Gaalaas serves as a joyful witness to the vocation of the priesthood and is making a significant impact in the lives of the next generation of priests. His impact in such a short period of time cannot adequately be captured in words, but nonetheless, we express our gratitude for his priestly service among us and for his generous “yes” to the invitation to join the Conception community.
— Fr. Paul Sheller, OSB
Director of Spiritual Formation