Leo Heinrichs, OFM
1867 – 1908
Fr. Leo Heinrichs, OFM, was born Aug. 15, 1867 in Oestrich, Germany. To enter the Order, he came to America and was received into the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1886. He professed temporary vows in 1887, made his solemn profession in 1890 and was ordained in 1891.
He served as assistant novice master at St. Bonaventure Friary, and as an assistant at St. Bonaventure Parish in Paterson and Our Lady of the Holy Angels Parish in Little Falls, N.J. Fr. Leo was also pastor at St. Stephen Parish in Croghan, N.Y., where he rebuilt the church after the disastrous fire that destroyed the town. He returned to Paterson, where he served as pastor of St. Bonaventure Parish before being assigned as pastor at St. Elizabeth Parish in Denver.
While distributing Communion at the 6 a.m. Mass on Feb. 23, 1908, Fr. Leo was shot to death by an anarchist who despised God, the Church and priests. He died at the foot of the Blessed Virgin altar, trying to protect the sacred hosts. A few days earlier, he had preached “How sweet it is to die at the feet of Mary.” At the time of his death, Fr. Leo was 40 years old, a professed friar for 20 years and a priest for 16 years.