FATHER VALENTINE YOUNG, the able replacement for Father Lucian Ricke, hails from Bellevue, Kentucky. Father comes to us after four years at Roger Bacon, where he taught typing, religion, and Latin. Father was ordained in 1956 and immediately went to the Navaho mission fields of the southwest for three years. Father Valentine spent the last two summers enrolled at the University of Michigan, where he studied Latin and Greek, leading to a Master of Arts degree in the classics. Father spends most of his free time in the language lab, but he quickly adds that it isn't his idea.
Over the years, Fr. Valentine has compiled a Latin songbook. It's amusing--and possibly useful if you know Latin.
Like most everyone, he too has been the butt of a joke now and then. He gets equal time, though. You can click to read his rebuttal to claims of his infatuation with Granny (of Beverly Hillbilly fame).
Each year around Christmas, Fr. Valentine mails a letter to hundreds of friends and former students. Here's his letter of 1999 (click a page to see a readable version):
This is his letter of 1998:
Father Valentine Young, OFM
Some of you know and perhaps some donít, that I have a different address. Please donít be frightened by all the above! In writing to me all you need is my name, PO Box 98, Maple Hill, KS 66507. All the rest is informational only.
This past summer the opportunity was offered me to work with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. At the time they needed a priest for their apostolate in the Archdiocese of Kansas City, KS. With the permission and blessing of my Franciscan superiors, here I am. Even though I am working with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, I am still and will remain a Franciscan. As with most of our assignments, we never know how long we will be at a particular location. My Franciscan superiors could recall me for some assignment, and the District Superior of the FSSP could also reassign me to some other apostolate.
In the meantime I am greatly enjoying what I am doing. I have the privilege and joy of being able to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass every day; actually ten times a week in a normal schedule.
I also teach religion and Latin every school day at Our Lady of Compassion School. This little school has had a rough history, but as one of the teachers said, "We have had the virtue of perseverance, even if not much else has gone in our favor." Right now we are still "homeless," i.e., looking for a place. Our classes are conducted in the homes of two generous parishioners. Unfortunately, we have met some prejudice even from our fellow Catholics, but to use a trite expression, we are hanging in there. Our students may not have the greatest resources in their classes, but I can assure you anyone graduating from this school will know how to read, write, add, subtract, and all the other basics which unfortunately students attending other schools do not alwayss master. What is more important, they will have received a solid education in their Catholic faith. Not all Catholic schools nowadays guarantee that!
We are not technically constituted a parish by the Archdiocese, but I am able to serve the people sacramentally in all aspects. That is what is important. I donít have the unpleasant situation which I had some years ago at the Indian Chapel in Albuquerque.
Every day I have Mass at St. Stanislaus Church in Rossville, KS, which is about nine miles from where I live. On Sundays I also celebrate Mass at St. Joseph Church in Topeka, a beautiful church that fortunately hasnít been renovated... This Mass is ordinarily a High Mass, and I must say that the choir has really progressed in the time that it has been in operationÖ
Because I currently have a Fraternity Seminarian living with me, we are able to chant Vespers and Compline every day in Latin Gregorian Chant. Next to the Latin High Mass, this is the closest thing to being in heaven that I can find on this earth.
ÖI prefer the traditional liturgy, but I can see the advantages of using the vernacular also. That is why I took the time and effort to be able to offer Mass in Navaho. This brings up my former assignments, especially with the Navahos. I was happy to work with them and did not myself ask to be moved. God has arranged for me to be here. Whenever I go to a new assignment, I never have time to miss the old place. I am not quite as busy here as I was in Houck, AZ. Teaching every day puts a demand on my time, but I am happy to do it.
The biggest family news was that Lucille, my oldest sister died on August 17. Certainly my visits to Cincinnati will not be quite the same, but I intend to keep in contact with all the nieces and nephews. Evely, Norman, and Booty, my sister and brothers, and their families, are all doing fine. We are all getting older, but that is good news when one considers the alternative.
Iíll get back to Cincinnati next May to attend our Franciscan Provincial Chapter and visit with relatives, etc. In the meanwhile, Iíll stay at home base. I have a very nice house to live in. The people are superb. I must say they are way above average in their knowledge, practice, and love of the Catholic faith. I canít seem to lose any weight with all the dinner invitations!!!
Iíll be looking forward to hearing from your, also seeing you if the opportunity presents itself. Be assured of my remembering you in prayer, especially at Mass. May you and yours have Godís blessing now and throughout the coming year.
Benediction Dei Omnipotentis, Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti descendat super vos et maneat semper. Amen.