Silas Rooney, OFM
1903 – 1981
Fr. Silas Rooney, OFM, was born on Jan. 12, 1903 in Wales, Pa. After graduating from Duquesne University, he attended St. Bonaventure College, Allegany, N.Y., where he had outstanding records in baseball, football and boxing. He was offered a substantial contract with the New York Yankees but refused the offer, choosing to enter the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1929. He professed temporary vows one year later, made his solemn profession in 1933 and was ordained in 1934.
He served in the China missions from 1936 to 1941, when the Communists expelled him. During World War II, Fr. Silas served as a chaplain in the United States military. After the war, he became director of athletics at St. Bonaventure University, serving for 10 years, and then went to Boston, where he served as vicar and then guardian of St. Anthony Shrine.
He died on Jan. 9, 1981 in St. Anthony’s Hospital, St. Petersburg, Fla. Fr. Silas was 77 years old, a professed friar for 50 years and a priest for 46 years.