Friar Francisco Nahoe ’80 Returns to PA Campus As New Catholic Chaplain and English Teacher

This fall, Phillips Academy welcomes a unique addition to its faculty: Friar Francisco Nahoe ’80, OFM Conv., who will serve as both Catholic chaplain and instructor in English. As chaplain, Fr. Francisco will serve the Catholic community by celebrating Mass, preaching, hearing confessions, and leading Confirmation preparation classes. He will also strive to “live in meaningful solidarity with all members of the Phillips Academy community regardless of their beliefs about God or their attitudes toward religion.” As an English teacher, he said, “my job is to help young people think well by learning to express themselves well.” Andover was the last of five high schools Friar Francisco attended, since he moved from Oregon to Minnesota to Arizona to Wyoming before enrolling here. “Coming to Andover,” he said, “was bittersweet. On the one hand, I was excited by the environment and the people. On the other hand, the circumstances that brought me to PA in the first place were terribly sad.” When his grandfather, a member of the faculty at the University of Wyoming, learned he had lung cancer, he wished to ensure that his grandson had “a good place to finish high school,” should anything happen to him. “The same hour that I received my letter of acceptance to Phillips Academy, the doctor informed us that my grandfather would likely pass away that very weekend. Before he died, however, my grandfather told me how happy he was that I been accepted to Andover and how much he hoped it would be a good experience for me.” Asked about his experiences a student, Fr. Francisco commented, “I remember how terrified I was asking Mr. Crawford for parietals. I remember both Frederick Peterson’s Lit B class and Jack Richards’ European History class vividly. I remember reading the hilarious graffiti in the Stimson girls’ bathrooms during my work duty cleaning assignments.” The friar enjoyed “music and dorm life,” singing in both Fidelio and Cantata in addition to playing in Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. He lived in Nathan Hale East, then a boys’ dorm, “with some great guys.” Upon graduating from PA, Friar Francisco studied at the University of Arizona in Tucson, later moving to Pomona College in Claremont, California, where he earned an undergraduate degree in Philosophy. “While in college,” he said, “I participated in a very active and spiritually rich Catholic student community.” In 1984, he joined the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, or the Franciscan order. He spent a year in the novitiate at Arroyo Grande and three years in simple vows in Los Angeles. He then continued his studies, earning a graduate degree from Berkeley and later studying in Rome at the Franciscan theological faculty. Since then, the Friar has taught at a Catholic high school in Los Angeles, worked as a chaplain at the Maria Regina Korean Youth Apostolate in Gardena, CA, served as an announcer for Saint Joseph Catholic Radio, and worked in the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi in San Francisco. “Mostly, I’ve been able to do so many interesting things in my life because the Franciscan Order has given me these opportunities,” he acknowledged. “My own experience of sacramental and spiritual life here at PA was instrumental in shaping my Catholic identity,” Friar Francisco said. “All three of the chaplains during my time as a student, Rabbi Everett Gendler, Rev. Philip Zaeder and Fr. Tom Hennigan, OSA, had a strong influence on my spiritual development.”