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Local Capuchin friar dies at 31

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Capuchin Brother Saúl Antonio Soriano Rodriguez, a perpetually professed friar of the Capuchin Province of St. Augustine in Pittsburgh, died early May 7 while in surgery at the Washington Hospital Center. According to his order, his death was the result of blood loss resulting from internal injuries from a cycling accident May 5. 

Brother Soriano was born in Santa Tecla, El Salvador, Aug. 18, 1986, the youngest child of Maria Fredis Rodriguez Fernandez and the Antonio Soriano Amaya. He attended the Institute Emiliani Catholic School before immigrating to the United States with his family when he was 18.

He graduated from Thomas Edison High School in Alexandria in 2007. The following year, Brother Soriano entered the Capuchin Formation Program at Borromeo Seminary in Wickliffe, Ohio, and graduated with a degree in philosophy from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio, in 2012.

Brother Soriano began his postulancy at Padre Pio Friary in Philadelphia. In 2013, he was invested in the Capuchin habit at San Lorenzo Friary in Santa Inez, Calif., and professed temporary vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as a Capuchin friar July 19, 2014.

The new friar pursued his graduate studies in theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington. He made his lifetime perpetual profession of vows in 2017. 

Capuchin Father Moises Villalta, pastor of Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Washington, met Brother Soriano at Good Shepherd Church in Alexandria and served as his vocation director. “He liked the idea of universal brotherhood, and we were able to see at his funeral how many people he touched from all different walks of life and different communities,” said Father Villalta. Brother Soriano had a heart for the poor and for evangelization, said Father Villalta, and dreamed of being an immigration lawyer.

“All of this of came out of his love for God. He was really in love with Jesus,” said Father Villalta. “We’re going to miss him. He was a great soul and a very generous young man.”

Brother Soriano was involved with the Catholic 270 Young Adult Ministry in the Archdiocese of Washington. He worked with the campus ministry at the University of Maryland and the St. Conrad Fraternity of the Order of Franciscan Seculars in Annapolis. 

He had special affection for the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity, the Discalced Nuns of the Carmel of Port Tobacco and the Capuchin Poor Clare nuns of Wilmington, Del., visiting them as regularly as he could.

Brother Soriano was preceded in death by his father and is survived by his grandmother, Ricarda Fernandez; his mother; and sisters Lilian Marlene Hernandez, Patricia Soriano Rodriguez and Marianela Soriano Rodriguez. 

His funeral Mass was offered at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart May 12 and he was interred the same day in the friar’s plot of St. Augustine Cemetery in Pittsburgh.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018