Bishop Capistran Heim, OFM, 86, Dies in Albany

Maria Hayes News Releases

For immediate release
Contact: Jocelyn Thomas

ALBANY, N.Y. — Sept. 24, 2020 — Bishop Capistran Heim, OFM, 86, a professed Franciscan friar for 60 years and a priest for 54, died on Sept. 24 at Teresian House, where he had lived since early last year. He spent his entire religious life in missionary work, serving for more than 20 years as a bishop in Brazil. Bishop Hein was considered an alumnus of Holy Name Province because, while ministering in Brazil, he transferred to Holy Name’s daughter province there in the 1980s.

The Reception of the Body is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Sept. 26 at St. Mary of the Angels Chapel on the campus of Siena College in Loudonville, New York, with a wake immediately following. A Mass of the Resurrection is scheduled for 10:45 a.m. on Sept. 26 at St. Mary of the Angels Chapel. Bishop Heim will be buried at the friars’ plot at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands, New York. Due to COVID-19 social distancing policies, registration for the wake and Mass is required. Information can be found on Siena’s website.

Early Years
Bishop Heim was born on Jan. 21, 1934 in Catskill, New York, to Joseph and Anna (née McEntee) and was baptized William Charles. He attended St. Patrick’s Academy in Catskill.

Before entering religious life, Bishop Heim was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1954, serving three years as the Korean War was winding down. After his service, Bishop Heim enrolled in Siena College near Albany, New York, where he studied biology, planning to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. However, he then decided to pursue a religious vocation, entering the Franciscans’ seminary in Callicoon, New York.

He was received into the Order of Friars Minor at St. Raphael’s Novitiate in Lafayette, New Jersey, on July 14, 1959 and a year and a day later – on July 15, 1960, the feast of St. Bonaventure – he professed his first vows as a Franciscan.  Like most Holy Name student friars of that era, he studied at St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon as well as at St. Francis College in Rye Beach, New Hampshire, and Holy Name College in Washington, D.C. He made his solemn profession on Aug. 22, 1963 at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany, New York. On Dec. 18, 1965, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Dominic Coscia, OFM, at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City.

The friar’s last two years of theological studies were done with the Franciscans in Petrópolis, Brazil, where he learned the Portuguese language and prepared to work in the Province’s mission in the state of Goiás, Brazil.

In 1967, Bishop Heim was assigned to São Miguel do Araguaia, in Goiás, where he served until 1969 as a substitute and then assistant pastor. This began his 47 years of ministry in Brazil, where he held a variety of leadership roles.

From 1970 to 1975, Bishop Heim served as executive secretary and vice custos of Holy Name Custody in Anápolis, Goiás, of which he became a member. The following year, from 1976 to 1977, he served as director of Rádio São Francisco, a Catholic radio station. He spent the next 10 years, from 1978 to 1988, serving as pastor at parishes in Catalão, Goiás and Quirinópolis – named Our Lady Mother of God Church and Our Lady of the Abby respectively – each of which served roughly 20 chapels. In 1985, he spent a sabbatical year studying in Jerusalem.

In 1988, he was ordained a bishop for the Prelacy of Itaituba in northern Brazil. He described the mission diocese in an article published in The Anthonian magazine, as “a vast area the size of all of New York State plus all of New England with no paved roads, only eight priests, one brother and 12 sisters, all deeply committed to the missions.”

He served as bishop until 2011, when his resignation was accepted by the Vatican at age 77.

Bishop Heim returned to the United States in April 2011 and lived at St. Bernardine of Siena Friary until 2014. From 2014 until 2016, he resided at St. Anthony Friary in Catskill, his hometown. For the next three years, he lived at Holy Name Friary, the Province’s skilled nursing facility in Ringwood, New Jersey, and when it closed in March 2019, he moved to Teresian House.

Bishop Heim is survived by a sister, Anne Heim of Leeds, New York, a brother, Joseph Heim of Catskill, and a nephew, Daniel.

Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.

About Holy Name Province
Holy Name Province is the largest of seven entities in the United States belonging to the Order of Friars Minor. With ministries in 12 states along the East Coast, its nearly 300 Catholic priests and brothers serve in colleges, parishes, urban ministry centers and a wide variety of social justice ministries, as well as in overseas missions.

The Franciscan Order, founded in 1209 by St. Francis of Assisi, commemorated its 800th anniversary in 2009. Today, St. Francis, whose feast day is Oct. 4, remains one of the most widely known saints, revered for his affection for nature and care for creation.

Information about Holy Name Province can be found at News about the friars and their ministries can be found on the Facebook page of the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province.

Interview and photo requests should be directed to Jocelyn Thomas, HNP director of communications, at 646-473-0265 ext. 321 or