Reverend Philip H. Luebbert

Reverend Philip H “Phil” Luebbert passed away Thursday, October 17, 2019, just after midnight at his residence at the Little Sisters of the Poor Center in Kansas City, Missouri.


Father Phil was born on September 24,1949 in Springfield, Missouri, the son of Leo A Luebbert and Celia C (Buechter) Luebbert. As a child, his love for the priesthood was first and foremost in his life. He played priest just like he played baseball, wearing some of his mom’s colorful scarfs as vestments. He held funerals for bugs and things found in the yard, and made communion out of smashed pieces of white bread. He loved being an altar boy as a young man for Monsignor Bauer at the family’s home parish, Nativity in Independence.  He was a lifelong student of Catholic education, beginning at Nativity of Mary Parish School. He graduated high school from St. John’s Minor Seminary, Kansas City, MO in 1967. He then attended Conception Seminary College, in Conception, MO for two years before transferring to St. Benedict College (now Benedictine College), in Atchison, KS, where he graduated with a degree in Philosophy in 1971.  He continued his studies at St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul, MN, for two years before leaving his vocation for what would end up being a 33-year hiatus. At age 56, upon the sponsorship of then Bishop Robert W. Finn, Fr Phil entered Holy Apostles College and Seminary, Cromwell, CT, and on May 29, 2010 he was ordained to the priesthood by the Bishop at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Kansas City, MO. He became, at age 60, the oldest priest ordained in the diocese in a dozen years.


His vocational ministry began at St. John LaLande Parish, Blue Springs, MO, before continuing further north in the diocese at St. Ann’s Parish, Plattsburg, MO; Sacred Heart Parish, Hamilton, MO and Mary Immaculate in Gallatin, MO; and finally to his role as chaplain at the Jeanne Jugan Center, Little Sisters of the Poor, Kansas City, MO where he resided until his death. He was at the time also Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Raytown and St. Bernadette Parish, Kansas City, and his performance of the Mass as chaplain at Little Sisters of the Poor continued until his final days.


Phil loved the Kansas City Royals from the year of their inception as an expansion team in 1969, even attending an open tryout for the team. As any fan of the team knows, the last 42 years have had their ups and downs, but Fr. Phil once said that “even being a fan of the Royals has its spiritual lessons. It’s a lot like life.”  He was happiest when with friends and family, celebrating holidays and reunions, and loved using his expansive memory to reminisce with others about the past. His other great love was the Church, and he cited his ordination to the priesthood over 40 years after he first pursued his vocation as a young man as his proudest achievement. “The day I found out I was going to be sent to Holy Apostles, my life seemed to go from a level two to a level nine in one day (on a scale of one to 10),” he once said. Of all the ministerial duties he was called to, Fr. Phil had a special place in his heart for the prison ministry he provided when he was first assigned to pastor St. Ann’s in Plattsburg. Every Wednesday night he met with a group of inmates of Crossroads Correctional Center in Cameron, MO, a maximum-security prison for men. He would say Mass and then provide the men an opportunity for their confession to be heard, where he said he was reminded that God’s mercy is all-powerful. “Thinking of that has changed my attitude toward them,” he once said.


He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Marilyn L.Meyer; He is survived by his sisters Carol (Scott) Barrow, Annette Newell, and Lisa Luebbert; by one brother, David (Karen Eagle); and by four nieces and six nephews.


Father Bernard Branson, former pastor of St. Ann’s Parish and then in his sixth decade of service to the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, once remarked in amazement about then Deacon Philip Luebbert, “I never met anyone who has so many friends.”  


Visitation and Services

Visitation for Fr. Phil will be held from 9:30 a.m on Tuesday, Oct. 22. at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Independence, MO. Prayer of the Rosary will begin at 10 am and the funeral Mass will be concelebrated at 11am by Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and Fr. Robert Stone of the Parish.


Memorial Contributions

Memorial donations may be made to Little Sisters of the Poor, 8745 James A Reed Rd, Kansas City, MO 64138.

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Posted in Kansas City Obituaries, Obituaries | on Friday, Oct. 18th 2019 | 5 Comments »

5 Comments on “Reverend Philip H. Luebbert”

  1. Scotty Paul Says:

    It is with deepest sorrow that I learned of Phil’s passing. Though we only knew each other for the two years at Conception, he always was definitely unique and memorable individual. I was happy that we were able to catch up with with each other on Facebook. May the love of Christ bless and keep you.

  2. David and Paula Burger Says:

    Father Phil kept his eye firmly on two prizes in his life. The first was his ordination to the priesthood which he reached after years of trials and testing, and although his ministry was brief, it impacted those entrusted to his care. The second was to keep his friends and classmates together and in touch with each other. At this effort, Father Phil had no peer.


    I was shocked to hear of Phil’s sudden passing. If he was ill, he never mentioned or complained of any health problems. I think of him as a very good friend. His desire to be a devoted – holy priest. We shared a common love for the Church and commitment to the pro-life cause. His smile and humor was contagious…his catch phrase: JK..just kidding! Old times at Conception are not forgotten.

  4. Kathy Garrison, Benedictine College Says:

    I was shocked to read about Father Philip passing away. I recall years ago how thrilled he was to be accepted by the diocese to continue his studies and fulfill his life-long goal to become a Priest. Father Philip you will be remembered always as a good friend. Thanks for your visit last November with Father John McCormack. You are now reunited with your parents and sister; please continue to watch over us.

  5. Bishop Robert Finn Says:

    It was a profound honor to Ordain Father Phil and to receive his first priestly blessing. He was a faithful priest, and a friend. May he Rest In Peace.

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