Father Andrew Nelson Honoring #HeroPriests

Father Andrew Nelson | St. Ignatius of Loyola, Somersworth, NH and St. Mary, Rollinsford, NH

Submitted by: Abbie Halpin

During the pandemic, Fr. Andrew Nelson has ministered to the parishes of St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Mary like a true father: joyfully, selflessly, giving of himself constantly. While many parishes reduced services and programming, Fr. Andrew added even more opportunities for prayer and virtual community. The parishes were blessed to have daily and weekend livestreamed Masses, virtual holy hours and a 24/7 stream of the tabernacle at St. Martin's church. In addition to the sacramental life, Fr. Andrew went above and beyond to minister to the youth of the parish, especially through regular children's messages he shared on facebook. Frequently featuring his dog, Bandit, the videos shared catechesis and community in fun, uplifting messages. You can view many of those videos here (scroll down, to see all the videos).

And when faced with an Easter so unfamiliar to so many, Fr. Andrew created lawn signs for parishioners, to proclaim that "Hope Will Prevail." The signs dotted lawns throughout southern Maine and Seacoast, NH, and still do, a witness to hope months after the paschal season.

There are countless other ways Fr. Andrew ministered during the pandemic and to share all of them would take hundreds of words. The parish facebook page gives a snapshot of many of those moments. But what it can't show are the hearts comforted, challenged and cheered on during these times. And for that, we are truly blessed as a parish community.

Fr. Andrew is a constant witness to the love of Christ, both in the parish and in the community. His priesthood is a gift to so many and a powerful witness to Christ's love.