The Deacon's Bench

Need an upper today? This piece from a paper in Pittsburgh just might do the trick:

He’s known from Pittsburgh to Guam, offering a message redeemable by all ages. His caring and compassion have comforted as many as 15,000 in a single audience.

Years have passed since I first learned of Father Scott Seethaler. Public and private programs around western Pennsylvania had been headlining his talks and boasting excellent responses to his appearances.

But my interest didn’t pique until I began answering calls from folks inquiring if I knew when Father Scott would be speaking in the South Hills. With this heads up, I planned to set time aside to hear what he had to say. The time was right last Wednesday at St. Louise de Marillac Church in Upper St. Clair.

I listened as Father Scott filtered a little humor through his ministry of trust and about the many forms of love as he spoke to young students and teachers.

His relaxed manner and clear message provided easy listening for kids and me, too.

Inspired, I headed back to St. Louise that evening knowing the focus of his second sermon of the day would be on forgiveness. I wasn’t surprised that every seat was filled. What did blow me away was that there seemed to be more men than women. Amazing!

Born in Pittsburgh, Father Scott became a Capuchin-Franciscan priest in 1969 and went on to receive a master’s degree in religious education and advanced studies in counseling. He currently resides at the St. Augustine Friary in Lawrenceville.

As a priest serving Mass in Cranberry, Father Scott became well respected for the down-to-earth topics of his homilies and other speaking opportunities. Feedback became so positive, he made the decision to make preaching his main focus.

Since 1975, Father Scott has traveled the U.S. and beyond speaking in both religious and public settings. Concentrating his talks on faith, values, stress, education and family issues, he has been invited to speak in more than 26 public school districts in Pennsylvania alone.

An author of books, When Life Seems Overwhelming and Wisdom and Wit for the Journey, he also publishes a bimonthly newsletter. CD’s and videotapes of his sermons are also available. His Joyful Reflections radio ministry airs daily in the Pittsburgh area and across the country.

As he visited a friend in Mexico nearly nine years ago, Father Scott walked the villages among the country’s poor and felt compelled to help so many in need of medical attention. In his newsletter he began mentioning the desperate need for healthcare in this poverty-stricken area.

His appeal spread quickly and within a short time he was able to purchase property, remodel an existing building and open an outpatient clinic. Through incredible kindheartedness from so many, The Anna Seethaler Hospital opened within a year in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Generosity continued to grow providing funds for dormitories to house those traveling as their family members were being treated.

“I’m forever hopeful and I believe in what I preach,” said Father Scott. “A good rule for personal growth is to have L.O.V.E. – Listen, Overlook, Voice and Effort.”

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