Theodore Cavanaugh, OFM
1920 – 1997
Fr. Theodore Cavanaugh, OFM, was born on March 3, 1920, and raised in Laporte, Pa. In 1939, he entered St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., where he maintained his reputation as an excellent student. He was received into the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., in 1942, and professed temporary vows in 1943. He made his solemn profession in 1946 and was ordained in 1948.
His priestly ministry was an uninterrupted succession of leadership roles. Having already earned a master’s degree in classical languages, Fr. Theodore was allowed one year to settle in at St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary before being assigned the added duties of assistant prefect of discipline and, two years later, prefect. He then served as master of clerics at Holy Name College, Washington, for six years; guardian and spiritual director of Christ the King Seminary, Allegany, N.Y., for three years; and guardian of Holy Name college for three years.
In 1970, he retired from education and entered parish ministry. Fr. Theodore was assigned to St. Anne’s Parish in Fair Lawn, N.J., as associate, then vicar, guardian, and pastor, while also serving as a provincial councilor. He moved to Holy Name Parish in Garfield, N.J., where he served as guardian and pastor, the last Franciscan pastor before the parish was returned to the Newark Archdiocese. Fr. Theodore also served as guardian and pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Beach Haven, N.J.
He died on Nov. 6, 1997 at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood. Fr. Theodore was 77 years old, a professed friar for 54 years, and a priest for 49 years.