Father Noel H. Rothrauff, O.S.B., a monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey and a native of Wilkinsburg, is celebrating the 65th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood in 2019.
Father Noel attended Saint Colman Elementary School, in Turtle Creek, and Central Catholic High School, in Pittsburgh. He then transferred to the Saint Vincent Scholasticate, graduating in 1945. He went on to study at Saint Vincent College, while pursuing his monastic vocation. He made simple profession of monastic vows on July 2, 1947, before Archabbot Alfred Koch, O.S.B., and solemn profession of vows on July 11, 1950, before Archabbot Denis Strittmatter, O.S.B., both at Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica.
Father Noel worked as assistant director of maintenance (1947-1953), and taught at the Saint Vincent Preparatory School, from 1953 to 1954. On May 22, 1954, Father Noel was ordained a priest by Bishop Hugh Lamb, at the Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica. After his ordination, Father Noel served in Covington, Kentucky, as assistant pastor of Saint Joseph Parish, and taught religion at La Salette Academy, from 1954 to 1959. He was also the moderator of the C.Y.O. High School Athletic Program for Kenton County, Kentucky, from1957 to 1959.
From 1959 to 1961, Father Noel was the assistant pastor of Queen of the World Parish while teaching religion at Central High School, in St. Marys.
Father Noel was then assigned to serve at Bishop Carroll High School, in Ebensburg. From 1961 through 1980, he taught religion, English, algebra, and bookkeeping, and served as moderator of the Camera Club. Father Noel is a professional photographer who, while at Bishop Carroll High School, served as the yearbook photographer. For several years, Father Noel was a member of the Triangle Professional Photographer’s Association.
During his years at Bishop Carroll, Father Noel also served as assistant pastor of Saint Benedict Parish, Carrolltown (1961-1972); administrator of Immaculate Conception Church, New Germany (1972-1973); pastor of Saint Gertrude Church, Vandergrift (1973-1974); and, pastor of Saint Nicholas Church, Nicktown (1974-1980).
In 1980, Father Noel was appointed pastor of Saint Benedict Parish in Canton, Ohio, and then served at Saint Benedict Parish in Baltimore, until he was called back to Saint Vincent Archabbey in 1982 to serve as the director of the Saint Vincent Missions, a position he still holds. He was also assigned to serve as moderator of the Saint Vincent Women’s Auxiliary, a position he held until August 2007.
Since his return to the Archabbey, Father Noel has served his community in many other capacities at Saint Vincent College and Seminary: articulation and institutional research specialist (1982-1983); Finance Committee member (1983-1984); personnel director (1984-1986); Post Office manager (1983-1992); Post Office staff (1992-2000).
His administrative duties, however, never prevented him from continuing to dedicate his life to his pastoral and missionary activities. He was temporary administrator at Holy Trinity and Saint Casimir Parishes, in East Vandergrift, (1983-1984); confessor for the Sisters of Charity of the Saint Joseph Community, at Seton Hill University, in Greensburg (1985-1994); chaplain of Olympia Place, in Wimmerton, Latrobe, and Mountain View Nursing Center, in Greensburg, (1986-1994).
After participating in the Theology Renewal Program at Sant’ Anselmo College, in Rome (1989), Father Noel was asked to serve as administrative assistant at São Bento Monastery, in Vinhedo, São Paulo, Brazil (1989-1990). Later he served as Chaplain pro-tempore for the Benedictine sisters at Tanshui, Taiwan, in residence at Wimmer Priory, assisting the prior (1992-1993).
Upon his return from Taiwan, in 1994, Father Noel received a master of divinity degree from Saint Vincent Seminary.
In 1994, Father Noel was appointed parochial vicar of Queen of the World Parish, in St. Marys, and between 1995-96 he served as administrator of Saint Benedict Parish, in Marguerite.
Father Noel has always expressed his deep commitment to the missionary activities of Saint Vincent Archabbey through his ongoing service as director of Saint Vincent Missions, and through his service at São Bento Monastery in Vinhedo, Brazil, where, over the years, he served in various capacities for several months at a time.
Father Noel had a brother, Father Leo P. Rothrauff, O.S.B., who was also a monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey and who died on September 19, 2010.