Arthur A. Butler, OFM
1916 – 1998
Fr. Arthur Butler, OFM, was born June 3, 1916 in midtown Manhattan, N.Y. After serving as an altar boy at St. Stephen of Hungary Parish in New York City, he entered the Seraphic Seminary of Immaculate Conception Province in Lowell, Mass., before transferring to St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y. Fr. Arthur entered the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1937, professing temporary vows one year later. He made his solemn profession in 1941 and was ordained in 1943.
Until his official retirement in 1993, Fr. Arthur served seven assignments, beginning with parochial vicar in Pensacola, Fla. He ministered briefly as parochial vicar at Holy Cross Parish in the Bronx, N.Y., before serving for 23 years at St. Francis of Assisi Parish. In addition to the normal parochial duties, Fr. Arthur served as director of three Secular Franciscan fraternities and for seven years was assistant director of Franciscan Pilgrimages.
The next 25 years were spent at the Southern missions. Fr. Arthur was pastor of three parishes: St. Anthony’s in Pensacola, St. Mary’s Parish in Anderson, S.C., and St. Francis Parish in Apopka, Fla., as the first friar pastor. He returned to St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City, where he assumed additional duties for roughly 10 years at the Archdiocesan Tribunal, where he became a Defender of the Bond. In 1984, he experienced health issues, but remained at St. Francis until 1993, when he retired to St. Anthony’s Friary, St. Petersburg, Fla. In 1994, he transferred to Holy Name Friary, Ringwood, N.J.
He died there on Feb. 4, 1998. Fr. Arthur was 81 years old, a professed friar for 59 years and a priest for 54 years.