By Dan Anderson, OFM
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Our brother Valentine Wilbert Young, OFM, embraced Sister Death at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, January 17, at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati. He was 88 years old. Valentine had been admitted to the hospital on January 9. While he was celebrating Mass at Sacred Heart Church, parishioners noticed his breathing was labored and drove him to the emergency room. “I was feeling really bad before Mass but I didn’t want to cancel,” Valentine said by phone. “I had a pretty hard time finishing.” Doctors had planned a heart procedure, but canceled it when they discovered a kidney insufficiency. After years of rebounding from heart issues, Valentine died of renal failure. Friars Frank Jasper and Michael Charron as well as nieces Carolyn Young and Pam Neville and friend Bridget Kaufman as well as a number of people from the Latin Mass community were with him when he died.
Born on February 20, 1931, in Bellevue, Kentucky, Wilbert was the eighth of eleven children of Clarence and Margaret (Groh) Young. Three of his siblings died in infancy and his father died when Wilbert was only eight years old. From a very early age while a student at Sacred Heart School in Bellevue, he wanted to become “some kind of missionary priest.” At the end of the sixth grade, he visited a Notre Dame sister who had been his teacher who was working at St. Francis Seminary in Cincinnati. There he met the rector, Fr. Urban Freundt, who encouraged him to join the seminary’s early high school program. Young Wilbert looked over the application and decided that it was what he wanted. He attended St. Francis Seminary, graduating in 1947 when he entered the novitiate and received the religious name Valentine. He professed his first vows in 1948. Valentine moved on to Duns Scotus College in Southfield, Michigan, where he professed Solemn Vows in 1952. He studied theology at Holy Family House of Theology in Oldenburg, Indiana, and was ordained a priest on June 8, 1956.
Valentine’s missionary dream became a reality with his first assignment assisting at St. Joseph Mission in Keams Canyon, Arizona, where he worked primarily with the Navajo People. In 1958 he moved to St. Michaels Mission on the Navajo Reservation from which he ministered at Our Lady of the Rosary Mission in Greasewood, Arizona. He also ministered for a year at the Mission near Chinle.
In 1959, Valentine returned to Cincinnati to teach Latin at Roger Bacon High School while he also served as Associate Pastor at St. Joseph of Nazareth Parish. In 1963 he began nine years teaching at St. Francis Seminary. I was one of Valentine’s students at Roger Bacon and remember that he taught according to the Sweet Method of language instruction. Valentine would wheel his tape recorder into the classroom and, after an Ave Maria or Pater Noster, we would listen to the vir in machina, repeating the sentences we heard. I don’t remember catching many of Valentine’s Latin classroom jokes, nor do I remember ever using the statement “Rem non spem quaerit amicus” in casual conversation. But I learned enough Latin to make it through college seminary!
In 1972 Valentine returned to the Southwest ministering in New Mexico at Grants, Los Ojos, Farmington and Albuquerque, and in Arizona at Ft. Defiance and Kayenta. Valentine became a member of the new Our Lady of Guadalupe Province in 1985, serving at Queen of Angels Chapel in Albuquerque and as Secretary of the province. In 1990, he rejoined St. John the Baptist Province but remained out west as Pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Houck, Arizona, until 1998.
From the early 1990’s Valentine made an annual retreat with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. Valentine said, “With the permission of my superior I became a coworker with the Fraternity…assisting them in their apostolate of supplying the Mass and sacraments in the extraordinary liturgical form.” From 1998 he served as chaplain to Latin Mass communities in Maple Hill, Kansas; Rapid City, South Dakota; and Lexington, Kentucky. In 2010, Valentine retired to St. Clement Friary in Cincinnati teaching Latin part-time at Roger Bacon High School for a few years and offering sacramental assistance to the Latin Mass community in Cincinnati and Kentucky until just days before his death. It was while celebrating Mass that he experienced the “hard time finishing” that led to his final hospitalization.
Valentine was preceded in death by his parents and all his siblings. He is survived by several nieces and nephews. He outlived all his friar classmates.
Expressions of sympathy may be sent to Valentine’s family through his nephew:
228 Ridgeway Avenue
Southgate, KY 41071
The Mass of Christian Burial took place on Wednesday, January 22, at 7:00 p.m. Interment will took place on Thursday morning, January 23, at 10:00 a.m. in the friars’ plot at St. Mary Cemetery in St. Bernard, Ohio.
Dan Anderson, OFM
Secretary of the Province