RINGWOOD, N.J. — Philip Nielsen, OFM, 93, a professed Franciscan friar for 69 years and a priest for 65, died July 21 at Holy Name Friary.
A wake and wake service were held July 24 at the Ringwood friary, where the Canada native had lived. Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial on July 25 at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Butler, N.J. Burial followed at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Butler.
Born April 15, 1920 to Edward and Helen Nielsen, Philip was baptized Edward William on May 30, 1920 at St. Patrick’s Church in Montreal. He attended Somerville, Mass., High School before attending St. Joseph’s Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., where he graduated from high school and completed his first two years of college.
Philip was received into the Order on Aug. 12, 1942 at St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson, N.J., where he professed first vows one year later. He pursued philosophical studies at St. Anthony Friary, Butler, and St. Stephen Friary, Croghan, N.Y., and completed his theological studies at Holy Name College in Washington.
He professed solemn vows at Holy Name College on Sept. 17, 1946 and was ordained a priest at Mount St. Sepulchre Friary in Washington on June 12, 1948. That same year he earned a master’s degree in English from St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, N.Y.
After completing theological studies in 1949, Philip was assigned to Bishop Timon High School, Buffalo, N.Y., where he taught English and religion. From 1953 to 1966 and again from 1973 to 1979, Philip was assistant editor of Friar Magazine, based first in Rochelle Park, N.J., then Butler.
From 1966 to 1973, he served as guardian of the friar community at St. Anthony Friary in Butler. He was also a retreat master, first at St. Bonaventure Parish in Paterson, and then at St. Anthony’s in Butler. Beginning in 1979, he also served as spiritual director to the Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth in Parsippany, N.J.
In 1981, he was granted a master of divinity degree from the graduate school of theology at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Darlington, N.J. Philip became chaplain to the Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth in Parsippany in 1989, where he ministered until retiring to Ringwood in 2008.
Condolences may be sent to Philip’s cousin, Lynne Greco, at 14 Bridle Way, Sparta, NJ 07871.
Donations in memory of Philip may be made out to: Franciscan Friars-Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd St., New York, NY 10001.
— Compiled by Theresa Bartha