Pope to canonize late bagel man as St. Frank of Spring Hill

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By Frank Fencil | frank.fencil@springhillcourier.com

SPRING HILL, Florida — Everyone in Hernando County knew NY Gourmet Bagels were out of this world. But were they heavenly? The Vatican thinks so.

Pope Francis announced Sunday during a surprise Hernando County stop at the end of his first U.S. visit that the late Frank Mangiapane, who owned NY Gourmet Bagels, will be canonized as St. Frank of Spring Hill.

“It is with such a deep, great joy that we are able to recognize this great man’s baking brilliance,” Pope Francis said during a mid-morning mass in which he was undoubtedly craving one of Frank’s creations.

“His work brought so much love to so many through their bellies with huge, huge bagels overflowing with cream cheese. If you were a rich man who loved Taylor ham and swiss on pumpernickel, lightly toasted, or if you poor child who loved only a simple egg bagel with cream cheese, Frank had a gift for you, and it was going to be the size of your head.”

frankMangiapane passed away in April at age 70. The bagelporium has been shuttered since, with no qualified confectioner capable of taking his place.

Thousands of faithful Catholics and bagel supporters filled the parking lot at Four Corners and were awestruck when Pope Francis made the announcement. Several former employees even recounted witnessing the verified miracles in the small shop.

“One of the ovens in the back went down about 4 one morning, and we were going to be sunk without it,” said Cheryl Brungo, a longtime NY Gourmet Bagels employee. “Frank just started wailing on it, and by God, his knuckles were so raw but it switched on and we were able to bake.”

Others recounted similar stories, such as the time Mangiapane turned a errant shipment of Pepsi products into an assortment of Arizona Iced Tea flavors. One customer who came to know Mangiapane through decades of daily breakfasts at the shop likened the late baker to a holy figure in other ways.

“Jesus chased the money changers out of the temple, and you shoulda seen how Frank got on them guys from the bank who would come in here trying to get him to get a debit machine for the register,” Vinny Carbone said.

Frank Fencil

Frank Fencil is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades' experience. He has uncovered government corruption, toppled dirty police forces and covered two foreign wars as an international correspondent. He chose to return to his native Spring Hill in hopes of giving his hometown the quality watchdog journalism it deserves.

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