Tuesday, October 20, 2020

In Memoriam Fr. Valentine Young, OFM


By HHE Archfather Rutherford I

RIP Rev. Fr. Valentine Young, OFM

Today I reflect on the life of the Rev. Fr. Valentine Young, OFM, who died earlier this year. His death is a benefit to the Church Triumphant in Heaven, but a loss to us here on earth.

As people migrate around, they often lose touch with those important to them. My favourite priest when I was a layman was Fr. Valentine Young, OFM, a staunch traditionalist and the chaplain of the local diocesan Latin mass community. I knew him when I was in graduate school, and he was my priest and friend. Yet, even after moving away, as anyone who knew him can attest, one of our most enjoyable treats during the Advent/Christmas season was to receive his annual Christmas letter. He left such a legacy everywhere that he was stationed, that the annual letter proved to be the best way for all of us to stay up-to-date on the activities of this extraordinary priest.

Fr. Valentine was just short of age 89 when he died. His body may have aged, but his mind and his drive to continue serving did not. Even at age 88, he was still serving as a chaplain to a Tridentine mass community. He always sought out ways to help others and to do things he found interesting. 

His earlier career involved working with Amerindian missions in Arizona and New Mexico. He served at different times for Latin mass communities in Kansas, South Dakota, and Kentucky. Not content with simply celebrating the sacraments, which alone would have been enough, he wanted the members of his communities to be able to connect with the beauty of the liturgy and the true and rightful Catholic heritage. So, he taught Latin and Greek classes – and he also played the organ to lead Vespers after the afternoon Tridentine mass, inviting the congregation to participate in learning the chant. 

One of my greatest privileges was being able to serve as a guard of honour during the mass for the 50th jubilee of his ordination.  Fr. Valentine was a priest I was proud to call a friend, and I credit him with my final decision to accept a vocation to the priesthood. He was always supportive of me and defended truth and tradition.

One of my favourite memories of Fr. Valentine happened after he had a heart operation. He did take a brief recovery period and was on oxygen. However, he did not want to sit around the house when there was the Lord's work to do, and so there he was back celebrating mass quite quickly, oxygen tank and all. As he moved about the sanctuary during mass, an altar boy was tasked with wheeling the oxygen tank. 

Fr. Valentine was a true priest, a defender of the authentic traditions of the Catholic faith, an inspiration to so many people, and my friend. Not only will I miss him, I will miss reading his annual Christmas letter that will not be coming this year. 

Additional information about Fr. Valentine and his lifetime of service to the Church may be found here: https://www.franciscan.org/2020/02/19/fr-valentine-young-ofm-1931-2020/