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Fr. DeSales Young, 1920-2017

DeSales250     Our brother, Fr. DeSales Young, OFM Cap., made his transitus to the Lord on Tuesday, May 2, 2017, at Vincentian de Marillac in Pittsburgh, PA. At 96, DeSales was the "Senior friar" of our Province - a distinction for which, among many distinctions, he was both grateful and proud.

     Born July 15, 1920, and named Arthur Francis, Jr., at his baptism, the future Capuchin was the second of six children born to Arthur and Lenora (Lippold) Young in Cumberland, MD. The Youngs were active members of Ss. Peter & Paul Parish there and friends to many of the friars of Ss. Peter & Paul "Monastery," one of the earliest established fraternities of our St. Augustine Province. The Young family would have two sons who would become Capuchin friars.

     Arthur, Jr., was educated at Ss. Peter and Paul Grade School before entering St. Fidelis Seminary High School in 1934 . He was given the name DeSales upon his investiture with the Capuchin habit 1941; he professed his first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in July, 1942. The third-born child, his brother William, would follow in his older brother's footsteps a year later.

DeSalesPage2 Invested in the habit in 1942, the now "Br. Valentine" would profess his first vows in 1943. Both had the distinction of making their Novitiate year in their hometown of Cumberland. The brothers would also, eventually, be together for their theological studies at Capuchin College in Washington, DC. DeSales was ordained to the priesthood on June 8, 1948 at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, and Valentine was ordained on June 7, 1949.

      Following an initial 3-year assignment as Assistant Pastor at St. Augustine Parish in Pittsburgh, PA, our brother DeSales spent the next 17 years (1951-1968) preaching with the "Capuchin Mission Band," a group of friars dedicated to the Franciscan call of Evangelization, offering Parish Missions throughout the United States. 

DeSales 01aFr. DeSales would frequently recall those days "on the road" as some of the most fruitful years of his life and would fondly recall the fraternal bonds with his confreres who shared in that important ministry. Eventually, “It was time to get off the road,” DeSales would say, noting that the hectic work of a "mission priest" seldom allowed the opportunity to "take root" in a community. Thus, in 1968, he was assigned for the first of what would be two appointments as Pastor of St. Ambrose Parish in Cresaptown, MD, just outside of (you guessed it) his hometown of Cumberland (1968-1971 and 1988-1995).

     From 1971-1977, DeSales served as Pastor to Sacred Heart Parish in Charleston, WV. It was an important time in the life of the parish. In 1974, Pope Paul VI shifted the boundaries of the Diocese of Wheeling to coincide with the state of West Virginia, prompting the establishment of the church as the "Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart" in the newly-named Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. The long-standing ministry of the Capuchin friars at Sacred Heart was to end in 1991 with the appointment of a Diocesan pastoral staff.

DeSales 02c     From 1977 until 1983, Fr. DeSales was Pastor of St. Mary Parish in Herman, PA. His years in both Charleston and Herman were marked by a notable increase in the enrollment in each of the parish grade schools, a tribute to DeSales' enthusiasm for Catholic education, and one which he communicated effectively to his parishioners.

     Assigned as the second Capuchin Pastor to St. Joseph Parish in York, PA, DeSales oversaw the expansion of a rapidly growing parish, continuing to foster support for parochial education at the elementary and junior high school levels. Liturgy was an important part of the pastor's concerns. He prided himself on assuring that all the aspects of Catholic worship -- music of quality, vestments of dignity and an environment of beauty -- received the necessary attention.

     In 1988, a return to Cumberland was provided for the family-centered friar. Returning to St. Ambrose in Crespatown, MD, was a delight for the now 68 year old Capuchin. He focused his commitment to Catholic education there as well, highlighting the parish's Religious Education program and employing creative means to garner support and energy from the parish and staff.

DeSales1a     With a return to Pittsburgh, PA, in 1995, Fr. DeSales would spend the remainder of his active ministry as Chaplain to the Sisters of Saint Francis of Mt. Alvernia (1995-2002). At the age of 82, he would be relieved of any full-time commitments, but he enjoyed being a senior pastoral assistant and confessor at St. Mary of the Point in Pittsburgh (2002-2007) where many of his Masses were televised for local participation. He would also minister as a part-time Chaplain to the Vincentian Sisters in Pittsburgh's North Hills.

     Our brother DeSales was a faithful member of his St. Augustine Capuchin fraternity throughout his final years. Never shy, DeSales would make his presence felt. He would often spend evenings chatting on the phone with family members and friends. He was even known to "watch television with his sister," connected by phone and chatting away and sharing their thoughts during the programs.

 DeSales 02a    The anecdote itself serves as an exclamation point to the love DeSales carried in his heart for his family. He was proud of his brother, Fr. Valentine. The latter's death from cancer in 2009 was a particular blow to him. He was proud of his brother-in-law, Casper Taylor, who served in Maryland's House of Delgates from 1974-2003 and served as Speaker from 1994–2003, the longest recorded Speaker's tenure in Maryland history. He was proud of Cumberland. He was proud to be a priest. He was proud to be a Capuchin.

     Along with his brother Valentine, his sister, Ann McKenzie, preceded him in death. Fr. DeSales is survived by his brother, Paul; his sisters Helene Teeter and Lenore (“Paulie”) Taylor and her husband, Casper ("Cass"); and numerous nieces and nephews whose baptisms and weddings he delighted in celebrating and whose successes were always shared in fraternal colloquies.

DeSalesLopez     In December, 2016, as the health of the wheelchair-bound DeSales continued to decline, it became clear that residence in a skilled care facility was necessary. He was moved to nearby Vincentian de Marillac where he was able to spend the final months of his life under the wonderful care of the Sisters there, in peace and relative comfort after his long years of dedicated service to the Church.

     Fr. DeSales was also proud of being born in the same year as Karol Józef Wojtyla, the future Pope St. John Paul II. "De," as he was affectionately known, was never hesitant to remind friars of that anytime that the Holy Father made news - not a rare occurence. Our brother was able to see his hero in 1985 when he joined other friars in the Capuchin Heritage Program, an on-going formation pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome. A 1986 address of the Pope offers a fitting summation of DeSales' life and ministry with a final phrase that he would use in many a subsequent homily:

"In a true sense, joy is the keynote of the Christian message . . . We do not pretend that life is all beauty. We are aware of darkness and sin, of poverty and pain. But we know Jesus has conquered sin and passed through his own pain to the glory of the Resurrection. And we live in the light of his Paschal Mystery - the mystery of his Death and Resurrection. We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!" (John Paul II, Angelus in Adelaide, Australia, 11/30/1986).

     Alleluia, DeSales!
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Funeral Arrangements

Visitation and viewing
Friday, May 5, 2017
The body of our brother will be received at St. Augustine friary at 1:00pm

2:00-4:00pm 
St. Augustine Friary
221 36th Street
Pittsburgh, PA
A Wake Service will be prayed at 4:00pm

The body of Fr. DeSales will then be transferred
to his hometown of Cumberland, MD

Viewing in Cumberland 
Saturday, May 6, 2017
9:00-11:00am
Shrine of Ss. Peter and Paul
125 Fayette Street
Cumberland, MD

Mass of Christian Burial
Saturday, May 6, 2017
11:00am
Shrine of Ss. Peter and Paul

     Donations in honor of our brother DeSales Young will be gratefully accepted for our Capuchin brotherhood and will assist us in educating our younger friars to serve in the Church as Fr. DeSales did with such enthusiasm and joy. They will also help us in our care for our remaining Senior friars who remain in need of our special care at this time of their lives.


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Capuchin Friars  ♦  Province of St. Augustine  ♦  220—37th Street  ♦  Pittsburgh, PA 15201  ♦  (412) 682-6011