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Dedicated Administrator, Musician Nathanael Necaster Dies

RINGWOOD, N.J. — Nathanael Necaster, OFM, 86, a professed Franciscan friar for 57 years, died on Sept. 14 at Holy Name Friary.

A wake will be held Sept. 17 from 9 to 10 a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at St. Anthony Church in Butler, N.J. Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, will be principal celebrant and homilist. A Memorial Mass will be offered at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 19 at St. Bonaventure Church, Allegany, N.Y. James Vacco, OFM, will serve as principal celebrant, with Gabriel Scarfia, OFM, as homilist. Burial will follow at St. Bonaventure Cemetery in Allegany.

Early Years
Nathanael was born Lawrence John in Farrell, Pa., on Sept. 3, 1930 to Lawrence and Concetta (nee Palanti) Necaster. He graduated from Farrell High School in 1948 and attended Dana Music School at Youngstown State University in Ohio from 1948 to 1951.

After serving in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1953, he entered St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., where he studied for two years before deciding not to pursue ordination. Instead, he transferred to the Province’s new lay brother training program at St. Stephen Friary in Croghan, N.Y., where he lived from 1955 to 1957.

Nathanael was received into the Franciscan Order in 1958 in Lafayette, N.J., and professed first vows there one year later. After serving in the kitchen at St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary for three years, he professed solemn vows on Aug. 22, 1962.

Ministry
His first assignment was to St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J. During the two years he spent there, he served as an organist at a local parish high school.

Nathanael was then assigned to Christ the King Seminary in 1965, where he would remain for the next 28 years — at its original location on the campus of St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y., and then when it relocated to East Aurora, N.Y., in 1974. While attending Olean, N.Y., Business Institute for a year, he undertook his duties as secretary to the rector. He eventually became director of records and registrar at the seminary. He also participated in the liturgical programs as an organist/pianist, and he was director of music for the renewal retreat program for communities for Franciscan Sisters during the summer months. On weekends, he served as organist at various parishes in the area.

In 1993, Nathanael was assigned to St. Francis Friary in New York City, where he worked as administrative assistant in the vocation office for eight years. Relocating to New England in 2001, he served as development assistant at St. Francis Chapel in Providence, R.I., for five years. In 2006, he was assigned to St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, where he assisted with music ministry at the Shrine and at local parishes for six years.

Nathanael retired in 2012 to St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J. He transferred to Holy Name Friary earlier this year. He is survived by a sister, Annette Revale, of Sharon, Pa.

Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.

Compiled by Carolyn Croke and Maria Hayes

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