Monsignor Nicholas Sivillo, pastor of Our Lady of Hope R.C. Church will be retiring on June 30th. As we bid farewell to Monsignor Sivillo and thank him for his approximate twenty-one years of service to Our Lady of Hope and to our community, there is a sense of sadness that the years have gone by so quickly and that changes in life are inevitable.
It seems that it was only yesterday, not over twenty years ago, 1988, when Monsignor first arrived at OLH. This article will be a brief biography of his life so that we may document it in the Juniper Berry for future generations.
Monsignor Sivillo will be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Juniper Park Civic Association Town Meeting on June 25th, 7:45pm at Our Lady of Hope Auditorium.
Nicholas Sivillo was born in what was then the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, in St. Joseph's Parish on July 1, 1938. He and his twin, Anthony were born of immigrant parents, Giuseppe and Rachelle Sivillo, from Palle Del Cole, Bari, Italy. The twins were the youngest of five children, the others being Catherine Lafferty, Joseph and Sister Mary, CSJ. Monsignor attended St. Joseph's Elementary School and Cathedral High School.
Nicholas was attracted to the Altar early in life. He became an altar boy while only in the fourth grade. His love for the Eucharist inspired him to attend Cathedral Prep where his vocation was well tested through intense studies he pursued. After six years at Cathedral, at the Minor Seminary, he went to Huntington, the Major Seminary, where he spent four years and received a B.A. Degree and from Catholic University in Washington D.C., received a S.T.B. Degree. His ordination took place on May 30, 1964 at the St. James Pro Cathedral by Bishop McEntagart.
Shortly after ordination Father Sivillo was assigned to Nativity B.V.M Parish in Ozone Park for eleven years.
Father Sivillo's second assignment was St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Astoria. At that time, he was appointed NYPD Housing Bureau Police Chaplain where he served in that capacity for 27 years. He also gave marriage encounter weekends for 15 years.
By January 1982, Bishop Mugavero assigned Fr. Sivillo as Family Life Director for the Diocese of Brooklyn. The Family Life Program grew under his direction for seven years. The Pre-Cana Program flourished and was given in five languages.
As Family Life Director, Father Sivillo found himself called upon frequently to speak to various groups. He was also on the Bishop's committee for divorced and separated Catholics, assisting many parishes in beginning their own programs. He was a member of the Priests' Personnel Board during those same years.
In January 1988, Bishop Mugavero assigned Fr. Sivillo as pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Middle Village. One month later, he was named a Monsignor by the same Bishop.
In addition to his many duties as pastor, Monsignor continues to work with Pre-Cana in his parish, visits his parish school, the sick in hospitals and the homebound.
Monsignor was asked to be on the Board of Directors of Christ the King High School and also on the paralegal Committee of St. John's University. Perhaps, we can express his priestly goodness by saying he is truly a Pastor. His love, concern, and care extend not only to his own parishioners at Our Lady of Hope but also to people whose lives he has touched in the past, to his friends and, most especially, to his own family.
"Oh, I'll be around often, I'll be living close by in the Rectory of St. Margarets," he said. We have no doubt that will be the case because, no question, Monsignor has more to give and more to say, and that makes us the lucky ones. Hopefully we will continue to have the Monsignor Sivillo "brand" in our neighborhood for many years to come.
We wish Monsignor a Happy and Blessed retirement as he only just begins another of his life's journeys. God Bless Monsignor Nicholas Sivillo and we thank him for The Blessings over the years.