Wilfrid A Hept, OFM
1917 – 2004
1917 – 2004
Fr. Wilfrid A. Hept, OFM, was born in Rocheseter, N.Y., on Jan. 4, 1917. In 1936, he entered St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary, graduating in 1938.
Fr. Wilfrid was received into the Province’s novitiate in 1938 at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J. He professed his first vows there the following year. Fr. Willie made his final profession of vows in 1942 at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C., and in 1944 he was ordained a priest at the church of Mt. St. Sepulchre in Washington.
Fr. Willie’s first assignment after ordination was to Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., where he taught philosophy from until 1951. For the next two years, Fr. Willie served as a parish priest at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Denver. In 1953, he was asked to go to Croghan, N.Y., to teach the young friars in formation. He taught American history and economics until the Province closed St. Stephen’s Friary as a formation site.
That same year, Fr. Willie was assigned to Christ the King Seminary at St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, N.Y., where he served as a professor and spiritual director. Two years later, he was appointed cleric master, or formation director, at St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J. In 1957, Holy Name Province established a friary in Rome for students of the Province studying there. Fr. Willie was sent as the first guardian of the Via Po Community.
Upon his return from Rome in 1960, Fr. Willie served in Atlanta, Ga., for a year and then came north to join the Siena College faculty again. He taught philosophy and served as vicar of the Siena community from 1960 to 1967. The following academic year, he was assistant professor of philosophy at St. Bonaventure University. Fr. Willie then moved to Providence, R.I., where he served for 13 years at St. Francis Chapel.
In 1982, he went to St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, where he continued his fruitful pastoral ministry. In 2001, Fr. Willie moved to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J., but a year later returned to Boston to reside at St. Anthony Residence.
After 50 years as a priest, Fr. Willie was asked which ministry offered him the most joy. He responded: “My work with the Catholic young adults in (Boston), my work with the Secular Franciscans in Providence and my confessional hours in our service churches.” Fr. Willie was an inspiring example of dedication to pastoral ministry.
He died Sept. 16, 2004, at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston. Fr. Wilfrid was 87 years old, a professed friar for 65 years and a priest for 60 years. Sept. 17 was the 62nd anniversary of his solemn profession.2004-09-16