Michele Nappi

Director of New Evangelization

My journey of faith with St. Joseph began back in the 60’s under the tutelage of the Sisters of St. Joseph in my parish school, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Astoria.  It was at Mt. Carmel that I learned how important it is to be part of a community.  This lesson was taught by playing CYO sports and modeled by my coaches Mr. & Mrs. Nappi.  This is how I met the love of my life, my husband Carl.  We shared a spiritual awakening during senior year of high school when we both went on our first retreat, at that time called an Encounter, now Cursillo.  We shared our faith as 18-year old’s which laid the foundation for a 51-year relationship. 

Like many, my faith journey hit a valley during the early years of raising my three daughters.  Joseph was at work once again quietly in the background as I felt a yearning to return to St. Joseph College in Brooklyn.  My faith got a much-needed boost from my exposure to the Sisters once again.  Joseph was not done with me yet.  My advisor, Sister Therese Avila asked me what my dream job would be, and I said to teach Social Studies in a Catholic school.

Wish granted at St. Isidore in Riverhead.  The position required me to take the basic and advanced religious studies classes offered by the diocese.  Now this was the 90’s and I was like a sponge absorbing things about our faith that I had forgotten.  I loved all the classes and especially being exposed to different methods of prayer at each session.  This led to me taking the Pastoral Formation Institution classes in the 00’s (now called the School of Missionary Disciples). This was beyond a booster shot as I now found a community to help support and uphold me during my faith journey, which like every journey has twists and turns.

The fire I once had for teaching Social Studies now turned to wanting to share my joy by teaching religion at McGann-Mercy High School.   Sharing your faith with young people is not a job; it is a vocation, and I loved every minute.  However, ten years teaching Social Studies and ten years teaching Religion seems to be my time limit to stay at one position.  Coming to St. Joseph in 2017 was for me a return to a parish environment which had nourished me at the start of my journey.

It has been a privilege to work with the children and their parents and now, adults under the tutelage not of the Sisters this time but St. Joseph himself.  Not sure about the ten-year thing but I know that I have been blessed to find a loving and nurturing environment to share my joy of the Lord with.