Riccitelli guides young people on their faith journey

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NORTH PROVIDENCE — From the moment she awakens each day, to her greetings and interactions with others throughout, Nancy Riccitelli is guided by the Catholic faith that was engrained in her so deeply by her loving parents.

“My Catholic faith is who I am. Every aspect of my life is affected by it,” says Riccitelli, who will receive the Lumen Gentium award in recognition of her more than 25 years of service as a teacher and curriculum coordinator for the confirmation program at Mary Mother of Mankind Parish.

She says that he parents lived an “ordinary but beautiful life,” one in which faith was their bond.

“It was a priority in our family,” she said of their shared faith life.

Riccitelli says that many young people today don’t often get to have that experience.

“I feel like when I’m teaching, especially the high school kids, I can sense in them that this is their first encounter with Jesus,” she says.

In addition to the more than 25 years of service that she has given to her parish as a faith formation educator, Riccitelli has actively worked to provide post confirmation growth opportunities for young people through Mary Mother of Mankind’s youth ministry service week each summer. She also serves as a parish trustee, on its stewardship and bazaar committees and also as a lector — a ministry she has participated in since she was a student at North Providence High School.

“Nancy gives tirelessly of herself in service to the Lord and the people of our parish, particularly to our youth,” said her pastor, Father Joseph Pescatello, who nominated her for the Lumen Gentium Award.

“She is a natural as an educator and received professional training as a teacher,” Father Pescatello said, describing her as “gifted, talented and creative.”

He noted that she is very approachable and loved by the youth she serves.

“She manifests a perfect balance between educator and friend toward our youth, going above and beyond as a teacher. The lessons she prepares are dynamic and engaging. Nancy has gained the respect and admiration of hundreds of youth who have gone through our program. Whenever her name is mentioned she is thought of with great affection,” he said.

Riccitelli said she feels honored and blessed to receive the Lumen Gentium Award.

She and her husband Warren have been married for 44 years, and together, they have two grown sons, Joseph and Warren III, and a granddaughter, Haylee, 12.

The highlight of her service is working in her parish’s Mission Possible program. Now in its fifth year, the program brings together upwards of 25 post confirmation students who stay overnight for a week at the Rejoice in Hope CYO Center in Cranston while spending their days in service to the community at agencies such as the St. Martin de Porres senior center, the Little Sisters of the Poor’s Jeanne Jugan Center and the diocesan Emmanuel House homeless shelter.

“The kids just keep coming back, even in college. They love to serve and that for me is the best part of the whole thing,” Riccitelli said.

Over the next several weeks, Rhode Island Catholic will feature profiles of the winners of the diocese’s 2018 Lumen Gentium Awards, which formally recognize those who ‘toil in the vineyard’ in service to the Lord, and minister to those in greatest need in their parish or community. The honorees will be awarded during a dinner at Twin River Event Center in Lincoln on Wednesday, May 16. Guests wishing to purchase tickets to the dinner — whose proceeds will support Diocesan Hispanic Ministries — are asked to register online at www.dioceseofprovidence.org/lumen-gentium-awards. For any questions about the event, please call 401-277-2121.