Memorial Mass Celebrated for Stephen Doyle

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BOSTON — A Mass was celebrated Oct. 12 at St. Anthony Shrine in memory ofStephen Doyle, OFM, who died Oct. 8 at Massachusetts General Hospital. The 76-year-old Scripture scholar was a professed friar for 54 years and a priest for 48.

Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, presided at the 4 p.m. Memorial Mass.Hugh Hines, OFM, preached the homily. 

Early Years
Stephen was born Aug. 12, 1934, in Philadelphia, the eighth of nine children of John and Marie Doyle. He attended Holy Child Grammar School and LaSalle High School, both in Philadelphia, before discerning a vocation to the Franciscans. He then enrolled at St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., where he studied from 1950 to 1955.

Stephen was received into the Order of Friars Minor at St. Raphael Friary in Lafayette, N.J., July 14, 1955, and professed first vows there July 15, 1956, before Celsus Wheeler, OFM. He completed his philosophical studies at St. Francis College in Rye Beach, N.H., receiving a B.A. from St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, N.Y., in 1958. He then went on to study theology at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C., from 1958 to 1962.

On Aug. 18, 1959, Stephen professed solemn vows at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany. Apostolic delegate Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi ordained him to the priesthood March 17, 1962, at Mount St. Sepulchre, the Franciscan Monastery, in Washington.

Following ordination, Stephen pursued graduate studies, receiving a licentiate in sacred theology from the Catholic University of America in 1963. He then taught for two years at St. John Vianney Seminary, East Aurora, N.Y., before studying Semitic languages at Catholic University and then Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, receiving in 1967 a licentiate in sacred Scripture.

After completing his studies, Stephen devoted himself to an extensive ministry of teaching, preaching and writing.

He taught Scripture at Christ the King Seminary from 1967 to 1969, and then joined the retreat team at Christ House in Lafayette, N.J. In 1971, he began his long association with the Boston area, becoming professor of Scripture and homiletics at Pope John XXIII Seminary, Weston, Mass. Stephen resided first at St. Francis Friary in Brookline, Mass., where he served on the novitiate team, and in 1975 relocated to St. Anthony Shrine in Boston.

For more than three decades, he gave workshops on sacred Scripture and preaching throughout North and Latin America, Ireland, India, and Japan.

In addition to contributions to the New Catholic Encyclopedia and the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Stephen published a number of books, including Covenant Renewal in Religious Life, Understanding the New Testament, The Pilgrim’s New Guide to the Holy Land and, most recently, Apocalypse: A Catholic Perspective on the Book of Revelation. He also made frequent appearances on radio and television and produced a series of videos on the Bible, preaching and the Holy Land.

From 1988 to 1990, Stephen was director of programs for continuing education of clergy at Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Israel.

Returning to St. Anthony Shrine in Boston in 1990, he devoted himself full-time to his work of preaching, lecturing and writing. He led more than 100 pilgrimages to Greece and Asia Minor, the Holy Land and Italy as well as conducted numerous retreats for clergy and religious. Stephen was listed in Who’s Who Among American Catholicsand was made a knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

Stephen’s activity was limited after suffering a stroke in 2006, and he was assigned to the Province’s retirement facility St. Anthony Residence in Boston until being admitted to the hospital in September 2010 after suffering a second stroke.

Stephen is survived by his brothers Joseph S. Doyle of Sunapee, N.H., James R. Doyle of Wellington, Fla., Fr. John T. Doyle, OSFS, of Childs, Md., and sisters Gertrude Salerno of Greenwich, Conn., and Margaret Bouffard of Williamsburg, Va. He was predeceased by three sisters: Madelyn Cramer, Jane Donofry and Marie Doyle.

Condolences may be sent to Joseph S. Doyle, P.O. Box 2171, Newbury NH 03255-2171. Memorial contributions can be made to: The Franciscans — St. Anthony’s Guild, 4 Jersey Street, East Rutherford NJ 07073-1012.