Community mourns death of Rev. Appicci

Jeffrey Eisenberg

The University and the Augustinian order are mourning the loss of Rev. Richard D. Appicci, O.S.A. Appicci died Feb. 1 at St. Thomas of Villanova monastery at the age of 78.

Appicci attended Villanova from 1957 to 1961.

Upon graduation, he served the University as a religious education professor, dean of student activities and vice president of Student Affairs.

During the ’60s, Appicci gained notoriety for bringing prominent speakers, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. to campus.

“Wherever he went, he always identified with the people,” said long-time friend and seminary classmate Rev. Jack Deegan, O.S.A., “At Villanova, the students were his main concern. He would fight for them – from extra milk in the Pit to bringing the best entertainment of the age to the campus.”

After working at Villanova, Appicci began serving the poor in the Prelature of Chulucanas, Peru, in 1967.

“When Father went to the missions in Peru he … took on the plight of the

poor and worked hard to change the cycle of poverty for these people,” Deegan said. “In later years, he accompanied Villanova students, especially nursing students, to Peru to bring some preventative medicine to these needy people.”

Appicci returned to Villanova in the ’90s, during which time he also served as a chaplain for various Pennsylvania prisons.

Appicci is being remembered as a proponent of peace and justice.

“He saw Christ in all people and responded accordingly – with love, compassion and absolute friendship,” said Rev. Donald F. Reilly, O.S.A.

At Villanova, Appicci is remembered for his continued devotion to the poor in Chulucanas. During the ’90s, as mission director, he led service trips to the region.

Appicci showed compassion and reverence for all human life and manifested his beliefs especially in Peru.

While Appicci served in Peru, Bishop Dan Turley, O.S.A. described him, saying, “He has gained the respect and love of our Peruvian people. [Appicci] never gives up, never gets disheartened … He finds hope when apparently there is nothing to hope for.”

“To me he was a good friend, wise advisor and a point of joy, humor and hope,” Deegan said. “He made all feel welcome, and he was a friend for life. Hundreds have been helped by him, and all received his unquestioning love.”