Post World War II

On the 22nd October 1945, the Capuchins returned to Australia with the arrival in Brisbane of four friars from the region of New Jersey, USA: Accursio Rasi, Egidio Scarpini, Gabriel D'Italia and Anastase Paoletti. Their coming was, in no small way, due to the enthusiasm and encouragement of His Excellency (later Cardinal) John Panico, the Apostolic Delegate to Australia (1935 - 1948). The parish of Wynnum, QLD was entrusted to them and it served as a base for their extended ministry in the wider community where the influx of immigrants, as a result of the war, were to be found.

In October 1946, a further three friars arrived from America: James Resci, Adalbert Salerno and Henry Kusnerik; in 1947 a Silvio Spighi from India and Carlo Mott from New Jersey arrived, and in 1948 came Fr. Bonifacio Zurli from Tuscany in Italy.

On 5th November 1946, the parish of Leichhardt and the chaplaincy of the Italians in the archdiocese of Sydney were committed to the Capuchins by Cardinal Norman Thomas Gilroy.

The next foundation was Halifax in the diocese of Townsville. Fr. Egidio was already in north Queensland, residing as a guest at Ingham, but at the disposal of the bishop in caring for the Italian immigrants. Given the appreciation of his dedicated and fruitful efforts together with the developing cordial relations, the bishop offered the parish of St. Peter's Halifax as soon as it became vacant in 1947.

In January 1949, the archbishop of Melbourne, Daniel Mannix, extended an invitation to the Capuchins to continue assisting the Italian migrants fulfilled, until 1945, by the well known Jesuit Fr. Modotti. As a residence, the friars were offered "Villa Gonzaga" at 182 Power St., Hawthorn.

About mid-year 1949, Fr. Anastase Paoletti, by this stage responsible Superior of the Australian band of Capuchins, was asked by the archbishop of Adelaide to send some friars for the pastoral care and priestly ministry required by the Italian migrants in the confines of that archdiocese. Fr. Nicholas Simonazzi was the first to go, followed shortly by Br Zachary. A little corrugated iron cottage in a place called Paradise, a market-garden suburb of Adelaide, was made available to them as the initial residence.

As time progressed, more and more friars arrived from overseas. Their origin and nationality, as they came from 20 different provinces, were almost as diverse as the cosmopolitan nature of the Capuchin worldwide family. They came in the beginning, as we know, with the purpose of attending to the needs of the many post-war European migrants and then, not much later, to implant the Order by setting up and assisting in a formation program for future Capuchins: a minor seminary (1951), a Novitiate (1954) and a house of studies (1955).

Meanwhile, further foundations were made at Yenda, near Griffith (NSW); Harvey and later Balcatta (Perth) in Western Australia; Bowen Hills, Petrie Terrace and Wynnum North (Brisbane) in Queensland and Plumpton (Sydney) in NSW.

It was clearly evident by now that the Capuchins were here to stay.

Next: 1982-2011 Consolidation of the Capuchin presence in Australia