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Brother Maurice V. Swartout, ministered to seniors

Sept. 18, 1924 – July 15, 2013

Brother Maurice V. Swartout, a popular Franciscan friar who ministered to senior citizens on Buffalo’s East Side, died Monday in Mercy Hospital after suffering a stroke. He was 88.

“Brother Moe,” as he was known to Catholics and non-Catholics alike, was active in several Buffalo parishes and helped to organize activities for senior citizens at local community centers.

Born Raymond Leonard Swartout in Boonville, Oneida County, he attended Boonville public schools and was a 1942 graduate of Boonville High School.

He entered the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor in 1945 in Paterson, N.J., and professed final vows in 1949 in New York City.

Early in his ministry, he was director of a cabinet-making shop in Anapolis, Brazil. He later became part of the order’s formation program team in Croghan, Lewis County; Rye Beach, N.H.; and Brookline, Mass.

He and three other friars started an intentional community in East Boston in 1974.

In 1989, he was assigned as pastoral associate at SS. Rita & Patrick parish in Buffalo and served in the same capacity at St. Clare Parish, which formed from the 2007 merger of four parishes.

Brother Moe maintained a special devotion to the Blessed Mother, daily reciting the rosary. He was spiritual moderator for secular Franciscans and the St. Patrick Fraternity.

He helped to organize senior citizens luncheons and was a fixture on senior bus trips, leading the recitation of the rosary and other prayers.

He also maintained a peace garden at the St. Patrick Friary and conducted a novena to St. Jude on Fridays in St. Stephen Church.

A wake service will be at 7 p.m. today in St. Stephen Church (of St. Clare parish), 193 Elk St., where a Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Friday.

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