We learn from the zeal and simplicity of Fr. Nicosia
Hong Kong, 9 November 2017 -- My very first impression of Father Nicosia was in 1998 when I was an aspirant. He was introduced to all aspirants by our formator in charge. He immediately appraised all eight of us including Father Cyril Law and myself by calling us “Angels”. And we should be ordained priests immediately after tomorrow. After proceeding my Salesian vocation discernment where I began my prenovitiate in Escola de Luigi Versiglia, where Father Nicosia lived for twenty-six years.
Since the school is far from the city and I have to travel to attend different Salesianity courses offered by Salesians in Instituto Salesiano and Yuet Wah college. While I was waiting for a driver, Father Nicosia volunteered to bring me to those schools. All the way, he appreciated and gave me lots of affirmations for my effort that I have given to the boarders and youngsters. Meanwhile, he reminded me not to be disappointed when there are failures but to do everything for the love of Jesus and Mary. His encouragement strengthened my vocation discernment, especially when I was in a period of questioning and struggling moment.
When I was living with him, I witnessed his frugality of life, totally dedicated his whole life for the poor and the needy. Sometimes we prepared some delicacies for meal time, such as coffee or wine, but Father Nicosia would insist not to enjoy. His personality is silent but very fatherly and meek. Fr. Nicosia’s enthusiasm and caring when encountering others make me associates his special devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus-- the Good Shepherd. My experience in the postunancy would never be completed without his good Salesian example in the way his words and deeds made me think of with our beloved founder Don Bosco; a man of God and a servant of the young and needy.
My second close experience with Father Nicosia was when I finished my practical training and began my Specific Salesian Priestly Formation in Shau Kei Wan. Father Nicosia was asked by the Provincial to transfer to St. Mary Elderly House in Hong Kong from Macau due to his health condition. My Rector Father Lanfranco wanted me to drive Father Nicosia to the Salesian House of Studies in Shau Kei Wan for Saturday solemn vespers and community meal every week. Fr. Nicosia always insisted to lead the Rosary prayer and use Latin intentionally. The way he accompanied a young confrere was so simple and proactive that taught me to pay special devotion towards the Blessed Mother no matter in living with the Salesian community or working for the young people.
Father Nicosia was also a very good confessor. Many confreres including myself and lay faithful came to him for spiritual guidance. His compassion and understanding towards the penitents’ shortcomings encouraged all of us to respond to the greater love of Jesus with our own conversion.
As I am ordained to a Salesian Priest almost for three years, there are times when a new priest would be stressful due to different new demands for priests. But remembering Fr. Nicosia’s word during my ordination “Coraggio! Jesus loves you. You offer everything to Jesus and Jesus will give you anything for your mission… Jesus is in you…in persona Christi”, I am able to move on.
Thank you Father Nicosia for your accompany. You have set a clear and good example for all young Salesians. You have demonstrated that no matter how many difficulties we encountered, the love of Jesus will be the strongest support of our religious life. Please pray for us all religious on Earth, especially the Salesians, to learn from your simplicity and zeal for the needy and the poor. And by experiencing the love of Jesus we may truly become the sign and bearers of God’s love to the young (Const. 16).