Father Andrew Apostoli: rest in peace good and faithful servant

The Church and the World Apostolate of Fatima lost a great friend this morning when Father Andrew Apostoli passed into eternity after a difficult fight with cancer.

Father Andrew was a founding member of the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. He and seven others followed the call and embarked on a reform of the Franciscan order in 1987. Father Andrew’s greatest attributes were his understanding of his vocation as a priest and his commitment to Franciscan life. He never knew the word “no.” There was nothing that you could ask of him that he did not try to fulfill. He was down to earth, a true servant of the people. This is why he is loved by so many. All could see genuine concern for them in him. Father Andrew’s urban street smarts blended with his great devotion for saving souls. I learned to view people in a different light by watching him interact with many different individuals. He had the patience of a saint. He had a great devotion to our mission of promoting the message of Our Lady of Fatima and, of course, he worked hard to see the canonization of the man who ordained him 50 years ago, Bishop Fulton Sheen. I appeared eight times on EWTN’s Sunday Night Prime as his guest. One show that we did was on Bishop Sheen’s devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.  I remember the energy in the pre-show preparations and filming.

Father Andrew has been a spiritual leader and friend of the World Apostolate of Fatima/Blue Army for many years. He has spoken many times at our Shrine, written for Soul Magazine, published his works with us, been a spiritual advisor on our pilgrimages and offered his guidance and knowledge as a leading Fatima expert in many ways. In short, he has been consistently available to us wherever and whenever we needed him, never asking for anything in return.

His faith and devotion to the Mother of God and to her message at Fatima is to be greatly admired. Many people have come to know this message and are living it faithfully because of his encouragement and example. We are indebted to this faithful servant who has done so much for this movement. As the Fatima Centennial is now behind us, please remember Father Andrew’s contributions in a special way.

President John F. Kennedy, in his 1961 inaugural address, stated that “the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.” This is also the case with us who now carry on the work of Father Andrew. The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal will continue to live the Franciscan charism and minister to the less fortunate around the world. Those who work for the canonization of Bishop Fulton Sheen will carry on without Father Andrew, and we will continue to promote the message of Our Lady of Fatima. All of us and all of our missions are better for having known him.

We all have a finite period in which we pursue our life’s work. This is the divine plan. The true measure of our success is in what we leave behind and how we prepare our successors to build upon our accomplishments. The late Cardinal George of Chicago once said, “We only take with us in death what we gave away in life.” All of our contributions are a patchwork that will be completed in eternity. Our true goal must be to leave things better than we found them. Father Andrew did just that.

The entire year of events in 2017 with Father Andrew was special. In March, my wife Dorothy and I attended his 50th ordination anniversary Mass and dinner. He was using a walker, but as we spoke that day of the many things that we had on the calendar for the Fatima centennial year, he made it clear that his infirmities were only temporary. In fact, he joined us on four occasions at the Blue Army Shrine in New Jersey in 2017.  On May 13 and October 13, he spoke at the 100th anniversary celebrations of the first and last apparitions of Our Lady to the three shepherd children. In July he officiated at an outdoor Mass for his 50th anniversary, and in August, he was present for St. Padre Pio day. On October 13, he began to walk in the Eucharistic procession, the finale of the day. At one point he had to stop and sit, not able to continue. He was exhausted, but gave a smile and said that he hoped to complete the procession. I believe that his guardian angel finished it on his behalf. This was the last time Father Andrew visited us at the Blue Army Shrine. How fitting that it was on the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s last apparition and the miracle of the sun.

Father John Paul and the Franciscan Friars will continue to be a big part of our mission as we all pursue our work. We look forward to many more years of working together in the vineyard of the Lord. To them and to Father Andrew’s family we offer our deepest condolences. This apostolate has had no better friend, and in my life I have had few friends who have inspired me as much as he did. My heart is heavy as I write this piece, but he is now in the hands of God whom he served in the priesthood so faithfully. Pray for the quick repose of his soul.

In closing I would like to offer to him the same prayer of St. Francis that he always offered to us, “May the Lord give you His peace.”

Rest in peace good and faithful servant.

David M. Carollo
Executive Director

Please click here for the funeral and burial arrangements.

 

 

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2 Comments
  1. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.
    I had the awesome privilege to talk with him and seek his guidance. I heard him talk about Mary so beautifully in May and October.
    He so mirrored her humility. I will miss his segment on EWTN.
    He was a beautiful soul. He touched all our lives.

  2. Fr. Apostoli was instrumental in my conversion and my first experience of the Holy Spirit. My condolences to the Friars and family. I’m sure Our Blessed Mother and Our Lord Jesus welcomed him to his heavenly home. I will remember him fondly.

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