Fr. Nicolas “Nick” M. Echeveria, OSA (Order of Saint Augustine) was born on September 10, 1940 in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental to Cristobal Serdones Echeveria and Prisca Alegado Madroño. He was the fourth child in a brood of twelve.
He finished his elementary education at the Balingasag Central Elementary School (1947 – 1953) and his secondary education at Saint Rita’s School, also in Balingasag (1953 – 1957). In July 1957, he entered the Order at San Agustin Seminary in Intramuros, Manila. From the year 1959 to 1962, Fr. Nick took up his philosophical studies at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in España, Manila. He was a novice from July 1962 to July 1963. He professed his first vows as an Augustinian religious on July 25, 1963, still in Intramuros. He then continued his studies at UST and took up theology from 1963 to 1967.
He solemnly professed his vows on July 25, 1966 and was ordained a deacon at the Manila Cathedral by His Eminence Rufino J. Cardinal Santos, Archbishop of Manila on May 20, 1967. On the feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist, he was ordained a priest by the Most Rev. Alejandro A. Olalia, Archbishop of Lipa at the chapel of the Saint Francis de Sales Major Seminary in Lipa City, Batangas.
Fr. Nick has served in varied apostolates and ministries of the Province through the years. His first assignment was at San Jose Community in Iloilo City from November 18, 1967 to June 24, 1968. Shortly, he was transferred to the Basilica del Santo Niño Community and served there until November 1971. On the same year, he was assigned back to Iloilo, but this time as a Member of the University of San Agustin Community. It was during this time that he completed his MA degree in Guidance and Counselling at the University of San Carlos (Cebu City). From 1975 – 1978 as well as in 1985 to 1988, he was the School Director of Colegio del Santo Niño (CSN) in Cebu City. In 1982, he earned his MA in Spanish from the Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana (Madrid) with a thesis entitled La relación entre lo humano y lo divino en la poesía de fray Luis de León. Fr. Nick also served as Treasurer of the Basilica del Santo Niño from 1984 to 1989.
From June 1989 to 1994, Fr. Nick was assigned as Parish Priest of Nuestra Señora de Gracia Parish in Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City. He also served in various capacities at the Monasterio de Guadalupe Community as Prior and Treasurer and as Member of San Agustin Seminary’s Formation Team.
On April 1994, Fr. Nick was moved to Santo Niño de Cebu Parish in Mohon, Talisay City, Cebu where he served as Prior of the Community and as Parochial Vicar at the parish. From May 1996 to March 2000, he was assigned anew at the Basilica del Santo Niño first as Community Member, and later as Sub-Prior and Vice Rector (July 1997 to March 2000) and Treasurer (July 1998 to March 2000).
From April 2000 to March 2004, Fr. Nick was once more assigned in Mohon. He was Prior and Treasurer of the Community and Parish Priest of Santo Niño de Cebu Parish. After serving in Mohon for four years, Fr. Nick was transferred to the Basilica del Santo Niño in April 2004 serving as Sub-Prior of the Basilica Community until April 2008.
For eight years (May 2008 to April 2016), Fr. Nick was assigned at San Agustin Center of Studies as Community Member and Spiritual Director of the students in initial formation. On the following quadrennium, he was transferred to Monasterio de Guadalupe Community where he served as Sub- Prior. It was in this community that Fr. Nick celebrated both his silver and golden presbyteral ordination anniversaries in October 1992 and 2017 respectively.
Just last July 2021, Fr. Nick received his assignment as Community Member of the Augustinian Novitiate and Prayer House in Mohon, Talisay City, Cebu but due to his lingering illness and the restrictions posed by the current pandemic he was not able to travel to Cebu. He was in and out of the hospital starting last May. At 11:47 PM on October 20, 2021, Fr. Nick breathed his last in his hospital room at the University of Santo Tomas Hospital in Manila. He died due to respiratory and renal failure.
Fr. Nick will be remembered as a talented musician and composer of sacred and liturgical music. He was a fervent devotee of the Province’s Titular, the beloved Señor Santo Niño de Cebu, of Our Lady of Consolation and of his namesake, Saint Nicholas of Tolentino. He was a humble friar, zealous priest and compassionate confessor. He was also an avid sports fan, especially volleyball. His gentle and happy demeanor will be forever etched in the memory of all those who were touched by Fr. Nick’s kindness, among them are his fellow friars, religious sisters, lay faithful and the members of his big family in Balingasag.
The Lord called Fr. Nick to his eternal reward at the ripe old age of 81 after serving the Lord as an Augustinian friar for 58 years and as a priest for 54 years. His remains were cremated and were inurned on October 28, 2021 at the Manila Memorial Park in Lilo-an, Cebu.