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Msgr. Michael Yarbrough, 74, longtime leader in archdiocese, dies January 13 in San Antonio

Msgr. Michael Yarbrough, 74, a longtime pastor of two of the largest parishes in the archdiocese who also served in numerous leadership roles on the archdiocesan level, died in hospice care at Methodist Stone Oak Hospital in San Antonio January 13 ­­­­due to COVID-19 related illness and other health issues.

Michael Yarbrough was born on Sept. 12, 1946 in St. Louis to Hilton and Dorothy Yarbrough. He was the first of five children, with siblings Patricia, Robert, Alan, and Debra.

Yarbrough received his bachelor’s degree in American History from the University of Missouri at St. Louis in 1969, his master’s degree in Social Studies from Webster University in St. Louis in 1973, and his Master of Divinity Degree in Theology from Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corner, Wisc., in 1979. He also completed studies for a Doctorate in Ministry and Preaching from Aquinas Institute in St. Louis. He served an internship year at St. Matthew Church in San Antonio in 1979-1980. He was ordained in Milwaukee on April 19, 1980. Msgr. Yarbrough celebrated his 40th anniversary of priesthood this past April 19.

Following his ordination, Msgr. Yarbrough was assigned as Vocation director for the Sacred Heart Fathers and Brothers in San Antonio.

Msgr. Yarbrough initially served brief parish assignments as a parochial vicar of St. Patrick Church in San Antonio and Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Brownsville in 1984 before being assigned as parochial vicar at St. James the Apostle Church in San Antonio from 1984 to 1987, and again briefly as parochial vicar at St. Gregory the Great Church in San Antonio in 1987 before assuming the pastorate of St. Matthew Church in Jourdanton from 1987 to 1998.

Msgr. Yarbrough returned to San Antonio in 1998 to become the pastor of St. Matthew Church. During his tenure land was purchased for the Sports and Devotional Park there on May 22, 2000, and the park was dedicated February 8, 2003, by then-Archbishop Patrick Flores. The park includes baseball, softball, football/soccer fields, and outdoor Stations of the Cross and Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine. Smoke filled the air on April 19, 2003, Holy Saturday, as part of the McDonald Family Center at the parish caught on fire. The fire left the McDonald Family Center only partially usable. The reconstructed McDonald Family Center was dedicated on Feb. 8, 2005, by Archbishop Flores.

He served at St. Matthew until 2010, when he was then assigned as pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Stone Oak. He was the pastor there for 10 years until his retirement in July 2020.

In June 2020, just prior to his retirement, Msgr. Yarbrough was awarded the Knights of Columbus Texas State Council Chaplain of the Year Award for the 2019-2020 Fraternal Year. In 2014, he was honored at the Catholic Charities Lifetime of Faith & Service Awards Gala for “his selfless and giving spirit reflected in his generosity to the community and in the generosity of his parishioners.” In 2002, Msgr. Yarbrough was named an “Outstanding Leader in Catholic Education” by the archdiocesan Department of Catholic Schools.

In addition to his parish assignments, Msgr. Yarbrough served vice president of the Atascosa County Ministerial Alliance in 1987-88, a member of the Rotary Club in Jourdanton, dean of the North Urban Deanery, chair of the Priest Personnel Board, chair of the Presbyteral Council, member of the Board of Consultors, and a member of the Board at Assumption Seminary. In 2020 he was a member of the Leadership Advisory Council for the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

His hobbies were racquetball, theater, movies, jogging, and reading.

Visitation was held January 24at Angelus Funeral Home. On January 25, at Holy Trinity Church, visitation and rosary were held, followed by Mass with Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, presiding. A reception followed in the parish hall. Committal was held later at St. Matthew Church in Jourdanton.