Father Woody attended St. Bonaventure College in St. Bonaventure, New York, and Regis University in Denver, to complete his higher education studies. He took his seminary training at St. Thomas Seminary and was ordained for the Diocese of Denver in 1953. Prior to entering the priesthood, Father Woody spent some time in the field of advertising and public relations, as he was an account executive in the Curtis Wright Airplane division of the B.B.D.O. Advertising Agency in New York City. He was also a technical representative for the Air Transport Command during WWII. Upon entering the priesthood, Father Woody spent 14 years at an inner-city parish and two years as a hospital chaplain. He also served as director of public relations and information for the Archdiocese of Denver from 1969 until 1986.
Beginning in April 1972, Father Woody was the editor of the Denver Catholic Register, as well as associate publisher, until January 1986. Under his leadership, the Register grew from a circulation of 23,000 in 1972 to over 81,000 in 1986. It also received several awards during Father Woody’s time, including the 1985 National Award from the Denver Area Chapter of Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge for the Register’s special Fourth of July issue. Other awards Father Woody has been given due to his journalistic efforts include Publisher of the Year (1981) and Friend of Broadcasting (1986).
Best known for his efforts to help those in need, Father Woody received an abundance of humanitarian awards throughout his life. Those awards include:
- “9 Who Care Award,” 1984, the first Frontiersman Award given by Denver’s TV Chanel 9
- “Anthionian Award” 1984, from St. Anthony Hospital Systems
- “Liberty Bell Award,” 1984, from Colorado Bar Association
- Honorary Degree of “Doctor of Humane Letters Honoris Causa,” May 17, 1986, from the University of Colorado
- “Civis Princeps Award,” 1987, from Regis College
- Presbyteral Council Service and Leadership Award,” May 1987
- “Annual Americanism Award,” June 1987, from The American Legion
- “World Gratitude Award,” September 1987
- “Tribute for Caring Award,” November 1987, from Hospice of Peace (Catholic Community Services)
- “Humanitarian Award,” January 1988 from The Martian Luther King Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission
- “Service to Mankind Award,” March 1988, from Sertoma International
- “Sertoma District Award,” 1988
- “Good Samaritan Award,” March 1988, from Samaritan House
- Father Woody’s Vision and mission are carried on everyday at “Father Woody’s Haven of Hope” A Day Shelter for The Homeless.