WINSTED, Conn. — With fall fast approaching and a new school year beginning come meetings and days of retreat for administrators and faculty members. An invitation extended to John Mahon, OFM, to lead one such retreat for St. Anthony School meant a return to the community once served by HNP friars.
St. Anthony principal Patricia Devanney asked John, a former assistant principal of the school at St. Joseph Parish, to lead the opening school year faculty retreat, said John Maganzini, OFM. “John agreed and extended the invitation to Lawrence Anderson, OFM, and me to co-sponsor the day,” he said.
John Mahon is guardian of St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J.; John Maganzini is vicar of St. Anthony Shrine in Boston; and Lawrence is parochial vicar at St. Mary’s Church in Pompton Lakes, N.J.
On Aug. 31, the three friars were given a tour of the school to see renovations and then traveled to the Knights of Columbus Center in Winsted for the retreat.
“The principal introduced John Mahon, who then introduced Larry and me,” John Maganzini said. “I opened the day with a presentation titled ‘Keeping the LIGHT Alive … a Spirituality for the Catholic School Educator.’”
Following a period of reflection, John Mahon shared his experiences at St. Anthony School with retreat attendees, inviting them to reflect on the virtues of “compassion and compassionate listening.”
Larry, joined by Fr. Dennis Arambasick, OFM, pastor of St. Joseph and member of Immaculate Conception Province, concelebrated the closing liturgy.
“Larry tied the thoughts of the day together in his homily and gave everyone a Franciscan blessing,” John Maganzini said. “Patricia thanked us for our Franciscan presence and reminded us St. Anthony will always be a Franciscan school.”
St. Anthony School began in the church’s basement in 1865 under the leadership of Fr. Leo Rizzo da Saracena, OFM, long-time pastor of St. Joseph and member of the Immaculate Conception Custody, during his first year at the parish in northwestern Connecticut. He recruited Franciscan Sisters of Allegany as teachers. In 1901, the Winsted parish and school became one of the first houses for Holy Name Province. After more than 100 years in the community, the Province withdrew in 2002, and Immaculate Conception Province began staffing St. Joseph and St. Anthony.