The Rev. Jerry Hanley, "Father Jerry" to many, was commended at the state Senate on Monday in recognition of his 30 years of service to the Catholic Church and the Carson City community.
Republican Sen. Bill Raggio, brought the Concurrent Resolution as a surprise for Hanley.
"Trying to keep a secret in the Nevada Legislature, it's very difficult at best," Raggio said. "Father Jerry's retirement is a bit bothersome to me, because he still has a lot of wisdom and energy he could share."
Hanley has participated in opening prayers for each of the legislative sessions since arriving in Carson City in 1977. For the first time in this, the 74th session of the Legislature, Hanley gave the opening prayer for the Senate on Monday morning.
Hanley recently announced his retirement from the priesthood at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community, with June 24 being his last day to lead Mass at the church.
Hanley said he was a little embarrassed for the notoriety on Monday.
"I like to do for others, so this was a surprise for me," Hanley said. "It's very much an honor (to be recognized). I was more honored at the way they tried to keep it a secret.
"I was a little in a sense of awe sitting with them, by them, working for the good of Nevada. Kind of a togetherness of me and them for the moment."
Raggio said he's been cognizant of Hanley's work in the community and with (the late) Pat Bates for many years.
"I did this (resolution) because he deserves it," Raggio said.
Hanley came to Carson City from Las Vegas, where he was first assigned - by request - at Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church and St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.
He entered Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Boston at the age of 32, and was ordained at his home parish, St. Rita Parish in Detroit, in 1973.
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