Father Theodore Young mourned

By Father Jonathan Cotton OSB

Father Theodore Young, known affectionately as Father Theo, died peacefully on the evening of Monday 30 October at Ampleforth. He stopped breathing quietly with his brothers and carers around him.

He had been a monk of Ampleforth since September 1939 when he was not yet 18. After his noviciate he was in charge of the bookshop and secretary to then head master of Ampleforth, Father Paul Neville.

In the 1950s he was sent on 'mission' as it was called – he worked as a monk in his first Ampleforth parish of St Peter's, Seel Street in Liverpool. He had very good memories of that parish and wonderful stories as well. Still in the 1950s he was transferred to St Mary's, Leyland and was there 27 years until 1983.

In Leyland he was a great help to many, especially young people whose confidence he had the ability to gain. For years he was chaplain to St Mary's Catholic High School. In many cases he became like a father figure, particularly either where there was no dad or when the real dad was unable to relate properly to his sons or daughters.

There are many stories about him in that period, and it would be good to learn more from those who were supported by Fr Theo between the late 1950s and early 1980s when Theo served the people of Leyland.

He was also much appreciated elsewhere. In 1983 he was sent to Knaresborough in Leeds Diocese to be parish priest of the Catholic church there, another Ampleforth parish. In Knaresborough he had a great team of laity helping and supporting him; he was also involved with the diocesan clergy on days out, getting to know them and vice versa. He served his Knaresborough parish for 15 years in all.

Then he went to St Austin's in Grassendale, south Liverpool where he was assistant priest for a further 13 years. He had many stories and much affection for both Knaresborough and Liverpool. In south Liverpool he was chaplain to the local Catholic secondary school in what is now St Wilfrid's parish, and there too he had many stories. It has been said that he might have been the oldest priest still serving as a school chaplain in the world. He continued until he was 90, in fact, and was much loved and appreciated by the young Liverpudlians. He too felt a special affection for the people of Liverpool, even if in this period he suffered at least two strokes and a heart attack.

Theo retired to Leyland in June 2012, remaining in St Mary's, Leyland as a sick and elderly man until 10 July 2017. By then he was too weak to serve the people in the Priory house where he was looked after by staff, monks and carers. Friends would call to see him from both Leyland and further afield, and it was a wrench for all in the Priory house when he returned to Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire to receive the professional care he needed day and night.

Theo quietly succumbed to God's will in obedience, as he had done all his life. At Ampleforth he was under the excellent professional care of matron of the infirmary, Karen, and her wonderful staff who found him a delight to care for in the last three and a half months of his life. May he rest in peace and, as we pray for him, we can be sure he will support us with his prayers from the home he has reached at last.

See more here: http://liverpoolcatholic.org.uk/userfiles/files/Death%20Notice%20(Fr%20Theo%20Young).pdf