Nicholas Fisher, of Fulton, was among 31 men who were ordained to the priesthood by His Eminence Cardinal Velasio de Paolis, CS, Pontifical Delegate for the Legionaries of Christ on Dec. 14 at the Papal Basilica of St. John Lateran, Rome, Italy.
Of the total 31 new priests, eight are American and one from Canada. The others are from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, France, Columbia and Chile.
Fisher said he had the beginnings of a calling as young child living in New York state.
The Fishers’ home parish was Our Lady of the Rosary in Hannibal, where Nicholas Fisher received his first sacraments and was an altar server during the Rev. Dennis Hartnett’s pastorate.
At the age of 5, Fisher remembers being in Mass at his local parish.
“That day our parish priest, Father Hartnett, a holy man, asked me if I would like to ring the bells during the consecration. I said yes, so he gave me the bells and I sat in the first pew with my mother.
“At the moment of the consecration, she told me when to ring them, and I did, first for the consecration of the bread, and then of the wine. At that moment, I remember, I thought for the first time that perhaps I would like to be a priest.
“After that it was something I thought about over and over again all these years,” Fisher said. “I come from a Catholic family and we were educated in the faith. They always told me when the priest says those words and they ring the bells, the bread becomes the body of Christ.
“We used to talk with my friends about what we wanted to be when we grew up: of course one wanted to be a politician, another a firefighter, another a doctor, another the president,” he said. “In short, we all wanted to be heroes. In that instant, there in my parish church, I understood in some way that the priest is more important than all those others, for only he can change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus.”
Fisher was born in Oswego June 5, 1982, to David and Carol Fisher, then residing in Sterling. they now live in Fulton.
His grandparents are the late Robert and Angie Arduini of Fulton and the late Carl and Dolores Fisher of Williamson.
As a young boy, Fishers attended Fulton Catholic and Seton Home Study Schools. In the summer of 1993 he entered the minor seminary of the Legionaries of Christ in Center Harbor, N.H.
In 1998, he joined the Legionaries of Christ as a novice, and did his novitiate in Salamanca, Spain, from 1998 to 2000.
He studied humanities at the order’s College of Humanities in Cheshire, Conn.Fisher has a bachelor’s degree in theology and a master’s degree in philosophy, both from the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, Italy.
He has done apostolic internships in New York, Padua (Italy), and Vienna (Austria). He was ordained a deacon by the Rev. Msgr. Renato Boccardo, Archbishop of Spoleto-Norcia (Italy) in Rome June 29, 2013 and a priest Dec. 14, 2013 also in Rome.
Ten members of the family traveled to Italy to attend the ordination and events in Rome before and after, including a general audience and Sunday Angelus with Pope Francis, a retreat for families of the newly ordained, a presentation on the Shroud of Turin and Fisher’s first Mass the day after his ordination.
He was assisted by the Rev. Sylvester Heereman, LC, Vicar General and acting General Director of the Legion of Christ.
Fisher offered his first Masses of Thanksgiving in the United States at Our Lady of The Rosary Church, Hannibal, the Legionary Seminary in Cheshire, Conn., the Guardians of the Eucharist Center in Salina and at Holy Trinity Church, Fulton.
He also concelebrated and presided at several Masses throughout the Christmas season at Holy Trinity in Fulton, assisting temporary administrator the Rev. Richard Morisette, Deacon David Sweenie and the Rev. Moritz Fuchs.
Fisher returned Jan. 2 to his first assignment as chaplain of a Catholic elementary school in Mexico City.
For more details about their stories, go to ordenaciones.legionariosdecristo.org.
The Legionaries of Christ are a religious congregation of priests of pontifical rite founded in 1941 in Mexico. Members include four bishops, 932 priests and some 900 religious in preparation for the priesthood.