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Sunday, March 4, 2018

Father Angelus M. Shaughnessy, OFM Cap, Requiescant in Pace

By:   Father Ladis J. Cizik
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Father Angelus M. Shaughnessy, OFM Cap, Requiescant in Pace

The Pittsburgh Latin Mass Community and the Catholic world lost a dear friend, Father Angelus M. Shaughnessy, OFM Cap., on March 2, 2018 at the age of 89.  He died at 2:15pm while praying the 5th Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary, the Crucifixion, on a First Friday dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Father Shaughnessy was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on June 4, 1955, a First Saturday dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Father Angelus is perhaps best known for his time at the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) in Birmingham, Alabama from 2001 to 2007.  There, he appeared world-wide while serving in the background as the Minister General to the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word.  Father Angelus had also faithfully served God as a missionary to Papua New Guinea from 1966 to 1980.  Father Angelus was a ‘man of the world,’ but his roots were in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Born on November 16, 1929 in Rochester, PA (Diocese of Pittsburgh), he was baptized at St. Cecilia Church by a Capuchin priest, Father Hugh Rauwolf.  He attended St. Fidelis College and Seminary in Herman, PA.  On July 14, 1950, Father Angelus professed his vows as Capuchin Friar. 

While stationed in the Western Pennsylvania area, in the time following the promulgation of Ecclesia Dei in 1988, Father offered his first Traditional Latin Mass for the Pittsburgh Latin Mass Community, on August 2, 1992 at St. Agnes Church in Pittsburgh.  When in town, Father Angelus would continue to serve the Pittsburgh Latin Mass community for more than a decade at St. Boniface in Pittsburgh (aka: Holy Wisdom Parish) and St. Titus in Aliquippa.

This is what Father Angelus used to tell other Catholics about the Pittsburgh Latin Mass Community:

“Jesus called us His friends because He revealed all the secrets of the Heavenly Father to us.  It seems the best kept secret in our American neighborhoods these days is the presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.  In so many places He has been:  MINIMALIZED, CASUALIZED, TRIVIALIZED, and sometimes even OSTRACIZED.  How sad to treat the greatest gift of God to us in such a shabby fashion!  There is one place in Pittsburgh where this kind of treatment to the Lord is not the case.  That is in the Latin Mass Community of Holy Wisdom Parish, where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered in the Tridentine Tradition … The faithful who participate in these Holy Masses truly have a sense of the sacred.  Even the children who come are most edifying.  The choir that sings the High Mass is among the best.”  (from a 1996 Holy Wisdom bulletin)

Various emails in the Pittsburgh Latin Mass Community announced recently that Father Angelus was dying at the Vincentian Home near Pittsburgh.  As soon as I heard, I visited him and extended the Latin Mass Community’s appreciation and promise of prayers.  I asked Father Shaughnessy if he would like to receive the Traditional Latin form of Extreme Unction.  Without hesitation, he agreed and proceeded to make the appropriate responses in Latin.  As prescribed by tradition, I anointed Father’s eyes, ears, nose, mouth, back of the hands (not on the palms for a priest) and feet. Following other prayers, “The Rite of the Apostolic Blessing with Plenary Indulgence at the Hour of Death” was imparted.  Father Angelus had a Brown Scapular.  Before I left, I asked if it would be acceptable to him if I wrote an article about our visit for The Remnant.  He said: “Surely.”

After my visit, on the day before he died, ten members of Pittsburgh’s Traditional Latin Mass Schola Cantorum of St. John XXIII Parish, under the direction of John Rokosz, performed for Father Angelus.  On the day of his death, I offered a Traditional Latin Requiem Mass for the soul of Father Angelus Shaughnessy.

During his life on earth, Father Angelus served the faithful of the Pittsburgh Traditional Latin Mass Community.  At the time of his departure from this earth, and after his death, our prayers and appreciation for him were expressed and will continue.  May we meet again in Heaven, and in the meantime, hold forth to that certain Catholic doctrine that the “Church Triumphant,” the “Church Suffering,” and the “Church Militant,” are always united in the “Communion of Saints.”

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Viewing:  Tuesday, March 6, 2018; 3-5pm and 7-9pm

Vigil Prayer Service:  Tuesday, March 6, 2018; 8pm

Funeral Mass (‘Ordinary Form’):  Wednesday, March 7, 2018; 11am

All at: St. Augustine Church; 225 37th Street; Pittsburgh (Lawrenceville), PA 15201 

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Last modified on Monday, March 5, 2018