The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Obituaries

October 14, 2011

Father Antonius William Yester, TOR

PITTSBURGH — YESTER – Father Antonius William, TOR, 81, died Oct. 13, 2011, at Vincentian Home, Pittsburgh. Born Sept. 4, 1930, in McKeesport, son of the late William and Teresita (Wernke) Yester. Also preceded in death by sister, Erma Devlin. Survived by sister, Teresita Wadsworth; and other family members, friends and his Franciscan community. Father Antonius was educated at St. Mary’s Grade School and St. Peter’s High School, McKeesport, and pursued higher education at Marquette University, Duquesne University, and the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science. Later, he attended St. Francis University, Loretto, and The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and completed his theological studies at St. Francis Seminary, Loretto. After service in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1956, Father Antonius entered the postulant program of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis in Loretto in 1957. He became a novice at Portiuncula Friary in Washington in 1958 and professed his first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in 1959. He made his solemn profession of vows in 1962, into the hands of the Very Rev. Kevin Keelan, Minister Provincial. Father was ordained to the priesthood in 1964 at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Altoona, by the Most Rev. J. Carroll McCormick, bishop of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. Following his priestly ordination, Father Antonius was assigned to Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he taught Scripture, theology and political science, and then to St. Francis University to teach sacramental theology and political science. In 1969, Father Antonius began his ministry in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. While residing in St. Luke’s Church, Carnegie, he was campus minister at Point Park College. He continued campus ministry in 1971 and assisted the parish ministry of the Franciscan community at St. John the Evangelist Church. In the summer of 1971, he also served as chaplain at St. Joseph and South Side hospitals. In 1974, he expanded the scope of his campus ministry by serving the students of Robert Morris College, Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Community College of Allegheny Country and Point Park College. Father Antonius developed his ministry even further in the late 1970s and early 1980s by engaging in young adult ministry at a center in downtown Pittsburgh sponsored and funded by the Diocese of Pittsburgh. In addition to teaching courses in Scripture and sacramental theology, he developed prayer and study groups and involved students in social concerns such as having them visit geriatric units of local hospitals, giving reading lessons to county jail inmates and working with people in areas of poverty. For the past 20 years, Father assisted with pastoral ministry at various parishes in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, including St. Therese of Lisieux Church, Munhall; St. Albert the Great Church, Baldwin Borough; and most recently at Holy Sepulcher Church, Glade Mills. Throughout the long course of his Franciscan and priestly life, the many people served by Father Antonius – college students, young adults and men and women of every age and walk of life – will remember him as a man of patience and compassion, a teacher who imparted life’s valuable lessons, a preacher who studied the Word of God and connected it to the needs of the human family. Regardless of the challenges he himself faced in his ministry, he accepted them with understanding, good humor and common sense. Friends will be received from 3 p.m. until time of vigil service at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16, at the Chapel of St. Francis Friary, Loretto, where Mass of Christian Burial will be concelebrated at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 17, with the Very Rev. Christian R. Oravec, TOR, Minister Provincial of the Sacred Heart Province, as principal concelebrant. Following the Mass, burial rites will be conducted at the Franciscan Friars Cemetery on the campus of St. Francis University. Arrangements by Gibbons Funeral Home, 301 Church St., Gallitzin.

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