Father Andrew Apostoli of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal dies

Father Andrew Apostoli of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal dies

Father Andrew Apostoli is pictured with members of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, an order he founded. The priest, a popular host on Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), was born in Woodbury. He died Dec. 13 at the age of 75.

Father Andrew Apostoli, 75, a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, and an admired preacher and retreat master, died on Dec. 13.

Born on July 3, 1942 in Woodbury to Dominic and Alvina Apostoli, Father Andrew entered the Capuchin Friars in 1959 at the age of 17. In 1963, he professed perpetual vows, and on March 19, 1967, was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.

Twenty years later, in 1987, Father Andrew was one of eight Capuchin Friars who founded the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, a reform community based in the South Bronx, New York. One year later, he became the spiritual father and founder of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, whose mission of serving the poor and spreading the Gospel is similar to that of the Friars.

In August, four Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal began ministry in Atlantic City, establishing their first convent in the United States outside New York.

For more than 50 years, Father Andrew served his community and the universal church in numerous capacities as a priest, including time as a teacher, spiritual director, novice master, community superior (1993-99), professor of Spiritual Theology at Saint Joseph Seminary (1985-2013), and vice postulator of the cause of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (2001-17).

He was the spiritual father of the Blue Army Shrine in Washington, N.J.; a sought after retreat master; preacher; prolific writer; and beloved television host on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).

In a statement announcing his death, the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal called Father Andrew “an example to us all of faithfulness, reverence and steady constancy; even in his final illness he was an example of virtue and prayer.

They added, “It was evident to all who knew him that Father Andrew loved his Franciscan vocation and priesthood deeply. One only needed to be present with him at the Mass to experience his humble love of the Eucharist and love of the church.”

Noting his devotion to the Blessed Mother, and proclaiming the message of Our Lady of Fatima, the Sisters wrote that “no doubt Father Andrew, faithful son of the church and son of Our Lady, is in the arms of his beloved Mother in his Father’s House.

Mother Lucille Catrone, Community Servant (General Superior) of the CFR Sisters, called Father Andrew a “loving Father to us in every way and without him, our community would not be.”

Father Andrew is survived by his older brother Emidio, and his wife Gretchen; younger brother Michael, and his wife Beth; sister-in-law Yvonne; four nephews and two nieces; numerous cousins; as well as by 128 CFR brothers and priests and 35 CFR sisters in community. He was preceded in death by his brother, Francis.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Dec. 20 at Saint Casimir Catholic Church, Yonkers, NY.

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