Father Dismas Young, OFM Cap.

Capuchin Father Dismas Young, OFM Cap., died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday morning, December 17, 2020, at Vincentian Home in McCandless, PA. A proud “Butlerite” from St. Paul Parish in Butler, PA, his baptismal name was Leo, born to parents Eugene and Mary (Steinhiser) Young on November 12, 1938. He was one of four children born to the couple and was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Eugene, and his sister, Nancy (McKain). His sister Alice (Bernard) Carbin survives him. Leo was familiar with the Capuchins who would come to his parish from nearby St. Fidelis in Herman, PA. After graduation from Butler High School, he felt his call to be a Capuchin brother and entered the Capuchin Brothers Training Center in Cumberland, MD. When he decided that perhaps a call to the Capuchin priesthood might best suit his talents, he enrolled at St. Fidelis College and Seminary in Herman, PA, in 1958, where he would join classmates who were a bit younger than he: John Getsy, Joseph Mindling, Emil Fischer (+2001) and William Wiethorn (+2014). They were all invested as Capuchins after their novitiate year in Annapolis, MD, where Leo was given the name Dismas. He wore his name proudly and never returned to his baptismal name as others did when permitted to do so in 1968. Besides, his patron was the “good thief” whose faith on the cross near Jesus allowed him to accompany Jesus to paradise. The class professed their first vows on July 14, 1961. Since Dismas was the senior of the class, its oldest member, he was the official class “ambassador” or “mediator” to the superior, be it the Director of Clerics in Herman, the Novice Director in Annapolis or the Director of Student friars in Washington, DC. He used his charm and humble submission to convince any superior that the class needed to have a celebration day, a trip into the city or an exemption from certain rigors of Capuchin penance. Legend has it that he became particularly adept at melting the ice with an otherwise stern superior like brother Stephen Rowe (+1996) in Washington. Completing graduate theological studies at our Capuchin College in Washington, DC, Dismas was ordained to the priesthood on October 22, 1966, and assigned to ministry in the Vice Province of Puerto Rico, where he worked happily for eight years in Rio Piedras and Utuado before returning to the mainland in 1975. He struggled a bit to find his niche after returning to the mainland, serving variously in Pittsburgh, PA; and Hays, KS. He was associate at Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Charlston from June 18, 1976 – June 15, 1977. He served at Herman, PA, before landing in Rochester, PA, in 1978. His nine years as parochial vicar to St. Cecilia Parish allowed time for bonds of friendship to mature and for his “character” to become widely known. The Parish Gift Shop at St. Cecilia, affectionately nicknamed “DizMart” by the friars, became the stuff of legend both for its surprising-if-modest profitability and its novel marketing strategies. Without a doubt, Dismas was a “character.” “Eccentric” may be too exaggerated, but applies in that Dismas’ center was always outside himself. He reached out to show kindness, to entertain, to raise funds for the Province and to create community through common projects. On his class’ jubilee of Ordination in 2016, a Provincial questionnaire asked the jubilarians “What would you like to have remembered about you?” Dismas replied with two simple words: “Kind.” “Hospitable.” Dismas was, without fail, a much-needed source of comic relief. His smile betrayed both warmth and mischief, and his deadpan sense of humor and dry wit provoked laughter, smiles and even “Oh, Dismas!” from the friars’ mouths. Throughout his days Father Dismas remained an appreciated advocate of men in Capuchin formation, from college students to friars preparing for final vows. There is no doubt that the depth of Dismas’ Capuchin heart was most manifested in his fourteen years serving as pastor of Saint Mary Parish in Export, PA. Beyond becoming a beloved pastor, his ability to welcome and care for his brother friars of particular need earned the support and gratitude of several Provincial Ministers. His compassionate and enterprising spirit was also recognized in the Export community where he was chosen Citizen of the Year for his contributions to the local community in 1990. A number of senior friars requested to live out their final years in Export where Dismas’ tolerance of demanding personalities or his ability to tame any moments of temper came in handy. He had a sauna installed for a friar whose painful arthritis was only soothed by its warm waters. He had a house trailer brought to the property to accomodate a pastoral minister – and served as an entertainment center for visiting friars and friends. When asked by the Province to take on pastoral duties at St. Anthony Parish in Charleston in 2002, Dismas generously accepted his return there even though it meant leaving his beloved community in Export. He served at St. Anthony Parish until 2007, when health issues began to limit his movement. He remained in West Virginia, residing at Paul VI Pastoral Center in Wheeling to support the fraternal life of the friars on staff there as well as those at the adjoining St. Joseph of Leonissa Hermitage. He took on priestly ministry in the surrounding areas as much as he was able, especially where his fluency in Spanish served Latino assemblies. In 2012 he made his move to our Provincial motherhouse, St. Augustine Friary in Pittsburgh, PA, to attend to his increasing medical concerns. The surrender of his car keys was a particularly difficult loss for him as his independence and his spontaneous visits to family and friends were curtailed. From November, 2019, until his death, he had been ably and lovingly cared for by the staff of Vincentian Home in McCandless Township north of Pittsburgh. Mass of Christian Burial was December 22, 2020 at Saint Augustine Church in Pittsburgh. Interment followed in the friars’ plot of St. Augustine Cemetery, Shaler Township/Millvale Pa. Donations in memory of Father Dismas may be made online to the Capuchin Friars, 220 37th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201.

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