Aleteia is reporting on the death of Father Andrew at the friary in New York at the age of 75. His death came just a week after the Franciscan Friars announced that he had “entered into the final stages of a battle with cancer, which has caused a very serious decline in his health.”
“Fr. Andrew conformed his life to Christ’s. As a priest, he was led by his relationship with the Holy Spirit, Our Lady, and Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, and continually worked towards the renewal of the priesthood,” Fr. John Paul Ouellette, General Servant of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, said in a statement. “As a Franciscan, St. Francis was the clear inspiration for his humility, humor, and his simplicity in word and deed. Fr. Andrew’s faithfulness and joy urge us to live the joy found in the Gospel.”
A separate statement from the community said Fr. Apostoli “spent his 50 years as a priest preaching, writing and traveling the world giving parish missions and retreats, spreading the Gospel with an emphasis on encouraging love and devotion to Mary, the Mother of God.”
Born on July 3, 1942, in Woodbury, N.J., to Dominic and Malvina Apostoli, he entered the Capuchin Friars in 1959 at the age of 17. He professed perpetual vows in 1963 and was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen on March 16, 1967.
Along with Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, Father Andrew left the Capuchin Friars in 1987 after attempting a reform of the order and started a new community with a friary in the South Bronx.
“It was a great challenge for both Fathers Benedict and Andrew to decide to leave their respective Capuchin communities to form a new and stricter community dedicated to prayer and service in the spirit of St. Francis,” said Christopher Bell, co-founder with Father Groeschel of Good Counsel Homes for unwed mothers.
“Together they were the elders among the eight men who banded together to form the community of the Friars of the Renewal. While both Fathers Benedict and Andrew would not claim to be the founders of the community—they would quick say ‘there are eight of us’—given their older and mature status they were looked upon and revered for their courage and determination. It was a determination of deep faith and tremendous love for the Lord Jesus Christ to serve Him in a way that was more pleasing.”
As Aleteia reports, Father Andrew saw the community grow to almost 130 members and expand to 14 friaries throughout the U.S., Central America, and Europe. The new order received formal recognition in 1999 and received recognition from the Vatican just last year as a “religious institute of pontifical right.”
A prolific writer and EWTN host, he was also a popular public speaker and retreat master who will be missed by all.
EWTN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw said in a statement on Wednesday that Fr. Apostoli was a “constant presence on the Network for nearly 25 years.”
“We always looked forward to his many visits to Irondale to produce programs,” said EWTN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw. “He was such a kind and holy man who always brought joy to the EWTN Family and who was a constant witness to the Franciscan spirit.”
“My work within the Church has put me in the company of some of the most exceptional people on the face of the earth,” said Alan Napleton, president of the Catholic Marketing Network. “They are people who have decided to serve God completely, leaving nothing for themselves; people whose love radiates so powerfully that, like Christ, they exert an inexplicable draw.
“Father Andrew Apostoli was one such soul. A true man of God, he heroically lived out his calling to be an Alter Christus, another Christ. He helped me and so many others on our life journeys that will end, God willing, in the arms of our loving God. He will be terribly missed by us all. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.”
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
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