Even before becoming an internationally beloved preacher on EWTN, he was a popular and inspirational speaker for retreats and parish missions. The people he baptized in Papua New Guinea remember him fondly. Secular Franciscans and Christian Mothers could always count on him for wisdom and guidance.
On Friday, March 2, 2018, Fr. Angelus Shaughnessy, OFM Cap., passed away peacefully, surrounded by friends as they prayed the Rosary.
One of nine children, Matthew Edmund Shaughnessy was born to John and Anna (Spang) Shaughnessy on November 16, 1929.
A talented and capable athlete in his youth, Matthew turned down an offer to play professional baseball as a left-handed pitcher for the Cleveland Indians to enter the Capuchin Novitiate; there he received his religious name Angelus. On July 14, 1950, Angelus professed his vows as a Capuchin friar. Fr. Angelus was ordained a priest on June 4, 1955.
In his early years as a priest, Fr. Angelus served as the Director of the Secular Franciscan Order and directed retreats in the Pittsburgh area. In October 1966, Fr. Angelus volunteered to work as a missionary in Papua New Guinea.
From 1966 to 1978, Fr. Angelus was spiritual director and teacher at the newly erected St. Fidelis Seminary on the northern coast of the Madang Province. In 1978 he was transferred to the Mendi Diocese in the Southern Highlands Province, and for the next two years ministered as a parish priest. During the course of his ministry in PNG, Fr. Angelus, along with his friends and parishioners, built 11 permanent churches and three bush churches. While ministering to the needs of the people of PNG, Father was privileged to baptize 1,227 men, women and children.
In 1980 Fr. Angelus returned to the United States. For the next 20 years, he conducted parish missions and renewals, preached and directed retreats, accepted parish help outs, days of recollection and appointments for personal, individual counseling.
At the request of Mother Angelica, Fr. Angelus was stationed at EWTN in Birmingham, AL in 2001. There he served as Minister General to the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. Fr. Angelus was happy to be a part of the apostolate of the Eternal Word Television Network where he was able to preach to 128 million households throughout the world.
In 2007 Fr. Angelus returned to Pittsburgh where he served as the National Executive Director of the Archconfraternity of Christian Mothers until the time of his death.
Fr. Angelus was blessed with many devoted and helpful friends. His interest in spiritual life led many to seek him out for spiritual guidance. He loved being in the company of his friends and family, who were always ready to attend to his needs. In his last days he preferred the company of his visitors to the easement of his pain, forgoing medication so that he would be able to converse with those who came to see him.
Fr. Angelus was always charitable. He had an unfailing zeal for the Catholic faith, and he loved being a Capuchin friar and priest. The popularity he attained never diminished his humility. He will long be remembered for his kindness of heart and holiness of spirit.