Featured Friar ~ Fr. Santo Cricchio, OFM Conv.

October 2005: Friar Santo Cricchio, OFM Conv. celebrates his first mass in French, at a Catholic mission in Arta, Djibouti, at the request of the Catholic Bishop of Somalia, due to a shortage of priests in the area.

Having already studied Psychology, Philosphy and Theology (earning his Masters from Washington Theological Union in 2000, as well as a certificate as Interpreter for the Hearing Impaired), Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Santo Cricchio, OFM Conv. is currently in advanced studies through the GI Bill Education Benefit.
It has been over 30 years since Friar Santo first professed his vows as a Franciscan Friar Conventual and in that time he has served as a member of the province Justice, Peace and Ecology Commission, and served as chairman of the Justice, Peace and Safeguarding of Creation Committee. He has also served in province ministry as parochial vicar, at Most Holy Trinity – St. Mary Parish (Brooklyn, NY), St. Clement Mary Hofbauer Parish (Baltimore, MD) and St. Philip Benizi Parish (Jonesboro, GA). Before his time in Jonesboro, he served as pastor in our Brooklyn, NY parish and as guardian of the friary there. Prior to his military service, he was was a campus minster, at the Catholic University of America (Washington DC). He has served as an Active Duty – United States Navy and Marine Corp Chaplain, since 2005.
Friar Santo is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom.
He serves the military by bringing the presence of God to those in peace and in combat. Originating in 2002, in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, of which Friar Santo was a part, contributed advisers, supplies, and other forms of non-combat support, as well as anti-piracy operations. These acts included building and restoring hospitals, clinics, schools, bridges and wells, while providing medical and veterinary care, and helping to distribute large quantities of supplied, food and clothing. American military forces in the Horn of Africa region worked in 2005 to bring aid to the local population and prevent the spread of terrorism.  At the time, when asked about his time in service on the Horn of Africa, Friar Santo stated, “Our mission in Djibouti is winning hearts and minds. That is what we are doing. We are waging a war of peace.”

In September 2005, Friar Santo (pictured at right) and members of the Camp Lemonier Catholic community gathered and distributed school supplies, much gifted by students from America, to the students of Aecole Boules Catholic Primary School, in Djibouti, Africa.

During this Veteran’s Day Weekend, we would like to honor our confrere, Navy Chaplain Lt Santo P Cricchio, a Navy Reserve Chaplain Corps Officer, who provides spiritual leadership, pastoral counseling, religious education and religious services for members of the Navy and Marines, and their families.