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Br. Charles O'Connor, 1942 - 2011

O'Connor2Date of Birth: September 30, 1942
Place of Birth: Wayne, PA
Temporary Profession: August 22, 1962
Perpetual Profession: August 22, 1965
Date of death: September 15, 2011


“In baseball, you don’t get too upset about losing.

There’s always next year."

On September 14, the Phillies became the first team to clinch a playoff spot with a 1–0 win at Houston. Three days later, on September 17, they clinched the National League East title for the fifth consecutive season. With 102 wins, the Phillies had the best record in baseball for the second year in a row and broke the franchise record for most regular-season wins. What a season. Unfortunately, the record books do not record that the Phillies lost one of their most ardent fans on September 15. Br. Charles O’Connor died quietly, as he lived, at Vincentian Home in North Hills, Pittsburgh, PA. His loss may have contributed to the astonishing heartbreak of the Phillies that followed: they lost in the first playoff series to the inferior St. Louis Cardinals, who went on to win the 2011 World Series.

But baseball was not the only game Charlie loved.

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Fr. Andrew Hohman, 1920 - 2011

HohmanDate of birth: July 28, 1920
Temporary Profession: July 14, 1949

Perpetual Profession: July 14, 1952
Ordination: May 29, 1954
Date of death: August 28, 2011

“All of my prayers to the BVM were answered.
I found another good job for the rest of my life.”

Our Fr. Andrew Hohman used to relay the story of his mother who brought him to the Miraculous Medal Novena at St. Anthony’s in East Wheeling when he was a teenager. These were the days of the Great Depression. In the stillness of the church, the two processed to Our Lady’s altar where his mother lovingly prayed that Mary would take care of her Son and find him a good job. “Here is my son Andrew,” she is told to have said. “He is too much for me to handle; you take care of him.” And handle him she did.

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Br. Jim Townsend, 1927 - 2011

TownsendDate of birth: January 27, 1927
Place of Birth
: Bristol, PA

Temporary Profession: February 6, 1973
Perpetual Profession: February 9, 1976
Date of death: June 12, 2011

“All I can say is that if God could get to me,
he can get to anybody.

He gave me a hope and a future.” – Br. Jim

There are very few friars in our history who have their names found as frequently on Internet search engines as our brother Jim Townsend. It’s hardly ironic that a man who loved to relish in story-telling would have his own story repeated so often and in so many various contexts. Jim sat at friary dinner tables and told stories about himself; he would stand before audiences of hundreds of people and tell stories about himself; and he would stand in the local grocery store or in parking lots talking to people and telling stories about himself. His story is now being recounted by many people who have never even met him or talked to him.

It is a dramatic story.

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Fr. Ralph Zehe, 1913 - 2011

Zehe2Date of birth: February 28, 1913
Temporary Profession: September 19, 1947
Perpetual Profession: September 26, 1949
Ordination: June 6, 1950
Date of death: February 22, 2011

“He demanded very little of this world or of this life.
He gave himself . . .”

He was a quiet man. That’s how Fr. Ralph would be described by most of the friars of the Province. Whether at the old St. Augustine Friary or at his “new” home at Our Lady of the Angels Parish House, Ralph was always in the “background.” We all knew that he worked – he was the one you’d see after meals cleaning up or mopping the refectory floor. He was the one who emptied waste paper baskets. He was the one in the back of St. Augustine Church waiting to hear the next confession. But Ralph was never the center of attention. Did most friars even know what he did?

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