St. Anthony Messenger

Followers of St. Francis

A Rejuvenated Spirit in the Land of Francis

In his 35 years as a Franciscan priest, Nicholas “Nick ” Mormando, OFM Cap, has ministered in parishes, friaries, schools, retreat centers, and health-care facilities across the United States, including St. Ann’s Parish in Hoboken, New Jersey; Immaculate Conception Parish in Hendersonville, North Carolina; St. Francis Friary in Wilmington, Delaware; and the St. Lawrence Retreat Center in Beacon, New York.

In October 2011, in his 26th year of religious life, Father Nick was elected Provincial Minister of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, Province of the Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis. He lives in Edison, New Jersey. As provincial minister, Father Nick traveled throughout the United States and India, ministering to the needs of both his fellow Franciscans and their congregations and communities.

Soon after he completed his second three-year term as provincial, Father Nick started to look for a different type of ministry, one that would add a new dimension to his witness to the mission of both Jesus and St. Francis. He found it at the Capuchin Friary of San Severino in Spello, Italy, just outside of Assisi.

“This is one of several friaries located in Europe, which are a part of ‘The European Project,’ ” explains Father Nick. “These are specially set up houses with international communities living according to the Capuchin Constitutions, which are not attached to a specific ministry. “

Being in Spello has definitely deepened my Franciscan roots, and it has strengthened me in the core values of prayer and fraternity. ” ÑNicholas Mormando, OFM Cap

In addition to celebrating daily Mass for either the nearby cloistered Augustinian or Poor Clare nuns, the Spello community welcomes many pilgrims who arrive almost daily, with some staying from a few hours to a few days. “We really saw large numbers through spring and summer, ” says Father Nick. “They come from all over Europe, the United States, and elsewhere. Many walk here from Rome, with Assisi being their ultimate destination. “

One of the big differences that Father Nick found between his provincial house in New Jersey and that of Spello is the amount of actual physical labor the friars must do to maintain their home. “There is a lot of physical work to be done here. We have a busy schedule of cleaning, washing, and cooking. We tend to building repairs and to caring for the gardens and farm. I have come to greatly enjoy the afternoon risposo, or rest time, associated with Italy! “

With his sabbatical coming to a close later this spring, Father Nick has been able to reflect on his experience of the past year.

“In many ways this year has turned out to be like a second novitiate for me, which I wasn’t expecting but am very grateful for having. The extra personal prayer time in the afternoon is probably the thing I cherish the most. Plus having more opportunities to go into Assisi and Santa Maria degli Angeli has been a blessing.

“I feel even more connected to Francis than ever before. My mind has been opened to prayer at a level that I wasn’t able to do before. It has given me an experience and understanding of solitude that I did not have. I will be returning to my home province, renewed in my love for and dedication to Christ, Francis, and my Franciscan community. ”

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