Celsus Hayes, OFM
1913 – 1994
Fr. Celsus Hayes, OFM, was born in Great Barrington, Mass., on Aug. 5, 1913. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from St. Bonaventure College in Allegany, N.Y., and then entered the Province’s novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., Aug. 12, 1938.
He professed temporary vows Aug. 14, 1939, and made his profession of solemn vows Oct. 4, 1942. Fr. Celsus was ordained a priest in Washington, D.C., Oct. 4, 1942.
After ordination, Fr. Celsus was assigned to St. Mary Church in Americus, Ga., but soon volunteered to serve in the new mission of Holy Name Province in Goias, Brazil. For the next 49 years, he served the Church and Order in Brazil in a great variety of positions, such as pastor, superior of the mission, councilor and commissary provincial.
Fr. Celsus was born to be a missionary. Even as a young fourth year student of theology, he requested ministry in Mexico or in the southern missions. In 1943, when the Provincial Minister, Fr. Jerome Dawson, OFM, requested volunteers for the proposed commissariat in Brazil, Fr. Celsus was one of the first to present himself. He was a dedicated and respected missionary in Goias for almost half a century.
He died on July 14, 1994, while visiting St. Anthony Shrine in Boston. He was almost 81 years old, a professed friar for 54 years and a priest for 51 years. He died as a member of the Brazilian Province, and his body was taken back to Goias for burial.