Gavin P Hanlon, OFM
1930 – 2000
Fr. Gavin Hanlon, OFM, was born on May 29, 1930 in Rochester, Minn., and baptized Francis. In 1951, he graduated from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., with a biology degree. That September, he enrolled in St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y. In 1952, he was received into the Order as Gavin at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., professing temporary vows one year later. He made his solemn profession in 1956 and was ordained in 1958.
After ordination, Fr. Gavin served briefly in three locations in the United States: St. Francis Chapel, Providence, R.I., St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, and St. Stephen of Hungary Parish in New York City. In 1960, he began his lifelong commitment to the mission in Bolivia. A short term assistant at Apolo in the prelacy of Coroico preceded his return to the United States in 1961 to study canon law at The Catholic University of America. Two years later, he transferred to the Antonianum in Rome, where he earned his doctorate in 1964.
Returning to Coroico, he became General Vicar of the prelacy and assistant at Charazani, before serving for five years as pastor at Coroico and councilor of the mission for four years. His unique contribution to the Bolivian Church was the seminary, established with the campesinos (peasants) in mind, under the authority and supervision of his bishop, Most Rev. Thomas Manning, OFM. In 28 years, 69 priests were ordained, a barrier was lifted, and every seminary now accepts campesinos.
He died on Dec. 4, 2000 at Seminario Del Espiritu Santo, the seminary he founded in Sorata, Bolivia. Fr. Gavin was 70 years old, a professed Franciscan friar for 47 years and a priest for 42 years.