FATHER HECTOR DI NARDO, CRM.
The son of Pasquale and Maria Grazia Di Nardo, Father Hector was born in Roccamontepiano, Abruzzo, Italy, on February 2, 1931. After attending the local grammar school he entered the seminary of San Giovanni College of the Clerics Regular Minor in Anagni on November 4, 1945, followed by philosophical and theological studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He took his Religious Vows in 1953 and was ordained a priest on February 25, 1956 in the church of St. Marcellus in Rome.
In 1959 his superiors sent him to the United States to help in the establishment of a seminary for American vocations. He resided in St. Joseph’s Rectory in Lodi, New Jersey, for a time. After the acquisition of a new property in Ramsey, New Jersey, he accompanied the Superior, Father Achille Rondinara, to the new residence on April 1, 1962. When Father Achille returned to Italy, he was in full charge of the place.
On April 1, 1964, Father Hector was assigned to St. Joseph’s in Lodi and began his many years as an Assistant Pastor working zealously in the administration of the sacraments. He was spiritual director of the Catholic Daughters, the Holy Name Society, the Knights of Columbus, and Unico National. He ran the parish bingo games to raise funds for the St. Joseph School and organized retreats for adults. Through the years he won the admiration and love of the parishioners.
On September 15, 1973, he was appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Church. His first priority was to re-vitalize the campaign for the new church, which had been going on for several years. He spoke to the parish, enlarged the Building Committee, and finalized the plans with the architect. By March 19, 1974, he was able to have groundbreaking for the building and on December 18, 1976, with the participation of Archbishop Peter L. Gerety, Bishop Joseph Costello, Bishop Joseph Francis, priests and laity, the new church was consecrated amid the joy and the satisfaction of all.
During his years as Pastor, every parish organization and structure was called upon to renew and update itself in view of the mandates of the Second Vatican Council. Father Hector guided his people with prudence and love. He introduced the parish to all the new directives of the Council, he formed a Parish Council, trained lay ministers, welcomed a Permanent Deacon to the parish, and encouraged the participation of the laity in every phase of parish life.
In 1982 Father Hector was made Superior of the seminary in Ramsey, but when Father Nicholas Capetola was elected to the General Consulta, he was re-assigned to St. Joseph’s for several more years. In 2007 he returned to Ramsey and was made the Superior of the United States/Philippine Delegation—an office which he held till 2012. He lives now in retirement in the House of Ramsey.