ANAPOLIS, Goias, Brazil — Juvenal Leahy, OFM, 96, a professed Franciscan friar for 68 years and a priest for 63, died on July 17 in Brazil, where he had lived for more than six decades.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on July 18 at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi here, followed by burial at Regina Minorum Seminary. Juvenal was considered an alumnus of Holy Name Province, having ministered in Brazil for 61 years.
Juvenal was born on May 17, 1925, in Buffalo, New York, to John and Catherine Leahy and was baptized with the name John. He attended South Park High School in Buffalo.
In 1943, Juvenal joined the United States Navy and served until December 1945. He was received into the Franciscan Order on Aug. 11, 1951, at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, New Jersey, where he professed his first vows as a Franciscan a year later, on Aug. 13, 1952. He professed his solemn vows before Donald Hoag, OFM, on Aug. 16, 1955, at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
Juvenal studied philosophy at St. Stephen’s Friary in Croghan, New York, and at St. Francis College in Rye Beach, New Hampshire, and theology at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C. He was ordained to the priesthood at Mount St. Sepulchre in Washington by Archbishop Washington by Archbishop Amleto Cicognani.
After ordination, Juvenal was stationed at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, Massachusetts, for one year and then at Assumption BVM Parish in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey, for a year. In 1960, he was assigned to Brazil where he lived until his death. Through the years, his locations covered much of the territory served by Holy Name Province in Brazil as did his roles. They included assignments in Ceres, Araguacema, Catalao, Cristalandia, Goiandira, Goiania, Quirinopolis, Anapolis, San Miguel do Araguaia, Pires do Rio, and Porangatu.
In addition to serving in traditional pastoral roles, Juvenal was a member of the pre-novitiate formation team and director of spiritual assistants for the Poor Clares. He was a supporter of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Juvenal was the last U.S.-born missionary serving in the Holy Name Province in Brazil.
He is survived by several nieces and nephews.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York NY 10001-3202.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.
- “Farewell at Assumption Parish in New Jersey Ends Nearly a Century of Service” — Oct. 16, 2020, HNP Today
- “Friars Participate in Brazil Anniversary Celebration” – Aug. 8, 2018, HNP Today
- Obituary (in Portuguese)
- Funeral Mass on YouTube (also in Portuguese)