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The Rev. Cyprian J. Mercieca T.O.R.

Dec. 15, 1934 - April 18, 2016

The Rev. Cyprian Mercieca T.O.R., 81, Hollidaysburg, passed away Monday at St. Bernardine Monastery, Hollidaysburg.

He was born in New York City, son of the late Phillip and Violet (Zarb) Mercieca.

Surviving are his Franciscan Community; a brother, Phillip Mercieca of East Hampton, N.Y.; and nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by a sister, Mary.

Father Cyprian entered the Franciscans of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis, Hollidaysburg, on Sept. 8, 1952, and professed his vows of poverty, chastity and obedience on July 16, 1954. He continued his studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., received his B.A. in philosophy in 1957 and was ordained to the priesthood at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on June 3, 1961. For one year, he was an instructor at Franciscan Preparatory Seminary, Hollidaysburg. From 1963-68, he was a missionary in Paraguay, South America. Upon his return, he was an assistant pastor at St. Patrick Church, Inver Grove Heights, Minn., before being named pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, South St. Paul, Minn.

He then returned to Paraguay for an additional four years. After returning to the United States, he served in pastoral ministry in West Virginia from 1974-79. He was then appointed novice director at Franciscan Formation House, Hlokz, South Africa. In 1983, he served as pastor of Church of the Annunciation, Fort Ashby, W.Va., and its mission church of St. Anthony in Ridgely, W.Va. In 1986, he worked in Hispanic ministry and was appointed pastor, econome and local minister at St. Paul Church, Wilmington, Del. Then, he served as pastor of St. Peter Church, Delano, Minn., before returning to Paraguay, South America, from 1988-91.

Returning to the United States in 1991, Father Cyprian did Hispanic ministry at St. Matthew Cathedral in Washington D.C. He then lived in South Africa as formation director from 1991-98. In 1998, he became pastor of St. Bridget Church, Minneapolis, Minn., and was then transferred to West Virginia in 2002, where he became pastor of St. Vincent DePaul Church, Berkeley Springs. He retired to St. Joseph Friary, Hollidaysburg, in June 2008. In March 2009, responding to the need of a Spanish-speaking priest, he accepted a position at St. Joseph, Fort Worth, Texas, where he then resided with the friars at All Saints Friary.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 22, 2016, at St. Bernardine Monastery, Hollidaysburg, where a vigil for the deceased will be held at 7 p.m. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated for just family and friars Saturday morning. Committal will take place at St. Bernardine Monastery Cemetery. Arrangements are by the Santella Funeral Home, Altoona.

Memorials may be given to the Franciscan Friars T.O.R. Retirement Fund, P.O. Box 139, Hollidaysburg, PA 16648.

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