A one-man play about Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos – one of Wexford’s first priests and the inspiration for the name of our newly merged school – will be performed on Saturday, Oct. 7, at 7 p.m. on the St. Alphonsus Parish campus.

The performance will be in the Ryan Center, which is adjacent to Blessed Francis Seelos Academy. A pre-play social with heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served at 6 p.m. (after the 5 p.m. Mass)

The performance and social are free; a freewill offering is appreciated.

Actor / playwright Casey Groves of New Orleans will perform the 90-minute play – “Seelos: Doctor of Souls” – about the affable itinerant priest whose powerful prayers of intercession resulted in the healing of countless people around the country. The 28-character play was commissioned by the National Seelos Shrine in New Orleans and Groves has performed it around the country.

St. Pope John Paul II proclaimed Father Seelos as “Blessed” in St. Peter’s Square on April 9, 2000, as the initial step toward being declared a saint.

Born in Bavaria, Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos came to Pittsburgh and worked with St. John Neumann in the 1840s at St. Philomena Church in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, which is where the Redemptorist order was centered.

He brought the sacraments to the German and Irish immigrants in the Wexford farming community, traveling by dirt roads on horseback or in a horse-drawn wagon from Pittsburgh to get to this mission territory. The Redemptorists served the fledgling St. Alphonsus Parish, which has Blessed Seelos’ signature in its parish’s baptismal records.

Blessed Francis Seelos eventually moved to New Orleans, where he died of yellow fever at the age of 48.