Meet Some of Our Friars

Brother James Gavin, OFM Cap.

Brother James Gavin will forever be remembered as the one-man welcoming committee of Saint John the Evangelist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  It would have been difficult to visit Saint John’s without meeting Brother James. He was always on the lookout for new faces; there were no strangers to him, only new reflections of Christ walking into church waiting to be recognized.

Brother James was born in County Monaghan, Ireland in 1932. He worked on farms and in factories, struggling to make a living. He took a job on a dairy farm in Northern Ireland for a few years. There he experienced first-hand the sting of religious prejudice. One day he received a letter telling him to leave town because he was Catholic.

That was the motivation Brother James needed to make a major move in his life. First he sailed to Liverpool, and then he flew to Canada and quickly found a job with the railroad. You can imagine his easy manner and warm, ready smile made James the perfect conductor on the rails, greeting every passenger and sharing many stories.

One such passenger was a professor from Pittsburgh who recognized Brother James’ Irish brogue and started up a quick friendship. The professor invited James to visit Pittsburgh and on that trip introduced him to the Capuchins. He suspected this happy, kind Irishman might have a special calling. And indeed, he did!

These days, Brother James is “retired” at Saint Augustine Friary in Pittsburgh, with many other senior friars. He is not as able and agile as he once was, but he still keeps himself busy, packing bags in the Capuchin food pantry!

Father Angelus M. Shaughnessy, OFM Cap.

Fr. Angelus Shaughnessy, fourth son and ninth child of John and Anna Shaughnessy, was born on November 16, 1929, in Rochester, Pa.  A product of the Catholic school system, he entered St. Fidelis College and Seminary in Herman, Pa, which was staffed by the Capuchin-Franciscan Friars.

A talented and capable athlete in his youth, Father Angelus turned down an offer to play professional baseball as a left-handed pitcher for the Cleveland Indians to enter the Capuchin Novitiate, and on July 14, 1953, Father solemnly professed his perpetual vows as a Capuchin Friar.  After receiving a Master’s Degree in Religious Education, Father Angelus was ordained a priest on June 4, 1955.

In his early years as a priest, Father Angelus served as the Director of the Secular Franciscan Order and directed retreats in the Pittsburgh area.   In October of 1966, Father Angelus volunteered to work as a missionary in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

While in PNG, Father Angelus was spiritual director and teacher in the Pontifical Seminary of Madang for 11 years and did pastoral work in the Mendi Diocese of the Southern Highlands. As a major part of his parochial ministry, Father and his parishioners built 11 permanent churches and three bush churches. While ministering to the needs of the people of PNG, Father was privileged to baptize 1,227 men, women and children.

In the summer of 1980, Father was reassigned to Western Pennsylvania. Under the auspices of St. Fidelis Retreat Center, he conducted many parish missions and renewals, preached and directed retreats, accepted parish help-outs, days of recollection and appointments for personal individual counseling.

From 2001-2007, Father Angelus was stationed at EWTN in Birmingham, Alabama. There he served as Minister General to the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. Father Angelus was happy to be a part of the apostolate of the Eternal Word Television Network where he was able to preach to 128 million households throughout the world.  At the present time, Father is the National Executive Director of the Archconfraternity of Christian Mothers, 220 37th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201.

After circling the globe four times and traveling thousands of miles over barely navigable terrain, Father delights in characterizing his present ministry as “the good life — a taste of the hundredfold here on earth.”

Fr. Bill Henn, OFM Cap

Father Bill Henn, OFM Cap., was raised in Beaver Falls, PA, where he belonged to St. Mary’s parish.  At the time, St. Mary’s was led by three terrific priests, and these men had such an impact on Father Bill that at a very early age he became a daily communicant.

Interestingly, none of these priests were Capuchins.  For Father Bill, the “Capuchin connection” happened through the auspices of a Sister of Divine Providence, Sister DeChantal.  Sister DeChantal had served in Puerto Rico for some years, and it was there that she met some Capuchin missionaries.  Sister never forgot their dedication and love for the poor, and back in the classroom she looked for young men who might imitate their example.  Father Bill was one of those boys, and after finishing his studies at St. Fidelis Seminary, at the age of 19 he entered the novitiate.

For the past 28 years, Father Bill has prepared men and women for ministry all around the world. As a professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, he teaches people from every country and continent. And among those he has taught are many who have gone on to become bishops and noted leaders in the Catholic Church. He is an energetic and curious professor, and students love to be in his classroom in the Eternal City.

Father Bill is not only gifted intellectually, he is also a man of gentleness and high hopes. He has become a noted theologian in ecumenical circles, always trying to bring Christians together in our faith. Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI named Father Bill to numerous Vatican ecumenical commissions. And Pope Francis has decided to keep Father Bill on those official Church committees to enhance the Church’s ecumenical connections.

Reflecting on his life at 65 years old, Father Bill stated, “Life has been really full. The students I have taught here in Rome and those whom I have guided to become teachers or professors are sprinkled around the world. I travel a good deal for the Vatican's work of Christian unity (it is my vocation as a friar to work for unity: Jesus, from the San Damiano crucifix, told Francis to "Rebuild my Church").

“Recently one of the priests whom I guided to his doctorate took me out for lunch and told me that he is the rector of a seminary in the Philippines, as is, he noted, another of my doctor-sons. Upon hearing that news, I was deeply grateful to God. I never desired to be a professor. Had I known at the age of 13, when I entered St. Fidelis Seminary, that this would be my ministry, I probably would have opted to stay home. Thank God, that he works in great ways while sometimes keeping us in the dark!”

Fr. Scott Seethaler, OFM Cap

He is known throughout the country for his preaching, and he has been going strong, delivering the Word of God, for more than four decades. Father Scott has no problem keeping very busy. He is scheduled years in advance to give parish missions and all kinds of retreats. Father Scott loves bringing people closer to Jesus Christ. In the spirit of St. Francis and Capuchin preachers throughout the centuries, he makes God’s word come alive in our world, for people of every walk of life.

Father Scott doesn’t restrict his outreach to churches. He is heard every week on a Pittsburgh radio station. He is also a frequently requested speaker in public schools and places of business. Every month he conducts marriage preparation courses for those who are engaged.

National boundaries don’t stop Father Scott either. He is director of a hospital for the poorest people in the poorest state of Mexico. In fact, through the generosity of many of his followers in the United States, Father Scott is able to provide quality health care to people who would otherwise be condemned to suffer afflictions and even death from  diseases and conditions that should not spell the end of one’s life. Thanks to Father Scott’s love for the poor, the impoverished of Oaxaca can live relatively normal lives without fear of life being cut short.

Father Scott is a joyful Capuchin friar who shares the wonders of our good and loving God with countless people in many places.

Brother Andre Repucci

Brother Andre Repucci has changed directions many times in his 35 years of life. From actor to officer, from television to the Air Force, this young man of boundless energy and enthusiasm took up many challenges and enjoyed much success.

And yet, he found little joy or meaning in any of them.  He knew deep inside where he was being led. And he ran the other way. Thanks in part to your prayers, Brother Andre has stopped running.

Today he finds himself living with 30 other young men in our Capuchin novitiate in Santa Ynez, California. He believes God has long been calling him to priesthood. Now he is a Capuchin Franciscan brother whose great energy and enthusiasm is directed toward his new goal of Capuchin priesthood.

Brother Andre credits the prayers of so many women and men of faith with bringing him at long last to his vocation. As he looks back on his life’s journey, his heart fills with gratitude and wonder seeing God’s gentle and loving hand guiding him.

Brother Andre is one of 46 men in the various stages of Capuchin formation. They all owe you more than you can ever know.  Brother Andre can attest to that.

Brother Andrew McCarty, OFM Cap

Brother Andrew McCarty was raised in a Catholic family but attended church only sporadically for most of his childhood. He tells us that much of his faith comes from time spent with his grandmother, who passed away in 1993.

Brother Andrew attended Catholic school for the first time in college, at Loyola in Baltimore and eventually attended law school at the University of Maryland.  This was a time of great temptation for him.  However, while studying for the bar exam he filled out a vocations questionnaire, which is how he was first put in touch with Fr. Tom Betz, the vocations director for the Capuchins, who also happens to be both a lawyer and a priest.  Isn’t the Lord amazing?

Br. Andrew has a passion for helping others draw closer to the Lord, to become more like the men/women He created them to be.  He also has a strong desire to draw deeper into a relationship with Jesus and become more like Him.  Prayer became a part of his life in times of high anxiety but it has stayed with him to this day.  As he became more involved in the Church his relationship with God has grown increasingly personal and real.  Although he sees that a religious vocation involves much sacrifice, he has no doubt that he will continue to be abundantly blessed if he becomes a Capuchin Franciscan.



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