1928 – 2007 (February 1)
Richard Dominic Appicci, was born on February 4, 1928, at North Bergen, New Jersey, the son of Domenico Appicci and Ida Rimoldi. He had one sister, Beatrice. He was baptized on March 25, 1928, at Saint Rocco Church, Fairview, N.J., and attended Jefferson Elementary School and Franklin Junior High School in North Bergen, and Emerson High School in Union City. After graduation in 1945, he worked as a radio repairman, mail clerk, sales clerk, and psychiatric technician. He began night-school college studies at Fairleigh-Dickinson University in 1946, and served in the U.S. Army from 1950-1952 in France.
In September 1953, he entered Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, as a post-graduate postulant. He was received as a novice on January 16, 1954, at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, NY, and professed simple vows on January 17, 1955. He then attended Villanova University, graduating with his BA in Philosophy in 1957. From that year until 1961, he pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., professing solemn vows on January 17, 1958. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 1960, by Bishop John McNamara in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC.
Father Appicci’s first assignment was to Saint Thomas Monastery and Villanova University, where he served first as a religious education professor from 1961 to 1966, dean of student activities from 1962 to 1965, and as Vice President of Student Affairs from 1965 to 1967. In 1967, Father Dick was one of three volunteers of the Villanova Province to serve in the Prelature of Chulucanas, Peru, which had been established under the auspices of the Midwest Province. Here he worked among the very poor with Father Frank Kelley and Brother Patrick Sheridan to establish the parish of San Jose Obrero in Chulucanas. He also served as Vicar General in the Prelature for 12 years.
A fellow missionary, Father Dan Turley, O.S.A. wrote: "Dick's true greatness as a person can be seen in times of difficulty or apparent defeat. Dick never gives up, never gets disheartened. I believe that he has begun to be like the people he is serving, that is, he hopes against hope. He finds hope when apparently there is nothing to hope for…. He has gained the respect and love of our Peruvian people. They know that he is for real and that they can count on him no matter what time of day or night that they might have to call on him…. Dick is a great example to all of us of a missionary who has cast his lot with his people."
Wishing to share what he learned in Peru with others, he returned to the United States and, in 1988, was assigned to the parish of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, Bronx, New York, where his experience and language skills were put to good use in a multi-cultural setting. In 1990, he moved to Villanova, and to Saint Thomas Monastery, where he worked first as Assistant Director, then Director, of the Province's Mission Office. He served as the coordinator for the Peace and Justice Committee of the Province from 1994 to 1998 and as a United Nations Delegate for the Order from 1997 to 1998. He was also a chaplain in Pennsylvania regional prisons, and was a zealous advocate for the causes of peace and justice. To help continue his work, the Province established in 2006 "The Richard D. Appicci, O.S.A. Endowment for the Augustinian Missions", a fund to support the province's mission efforts abroad.
Father Dick passed away on February 1, 2007, at Saint Thomas of Villanova Monastery. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on February 5 at Saint Thomas of Villanova Church on the Villanova University campus. He is buried at Calvary Cemetery in West Conshohocken, Pa.