Lenten Beginnings at Saint Anthony Shrine

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BOSTON – John Maganzini and Gregory Day, as members of the Religious Brothers Conference, were guests of Divine Word Brother Donald Champagne, superior and director of Miramar Retreat House in Duxbury, Mass., at their annual Mardi Gras celebration for diocesan and religious priests and brothers in the area. The evening began with prayer and continued with a wonderful meal. Many of those who attended spoke with great respect for the work of the friars at Saint Anthony Shrine.

John Maganzini has been invited to serve on a special committee being formed by the Religious Brothers Conference to study and develop “lesson plan” materials: “What is a Brother?”. The RBC wanted a Franciscan presence on the committee. Materials developed will be used in schools and presented at the annual National Catholic Educators convention. Michael Harlan and a Capuchin friar, Richard Therrien, will serve on the committee. John Maganzini has been asked to serve as a consultant to review materials.

Ash Wednesday saw the usual thousands of people coming through the doors of the shrine all throughout the day. Ash Wednesday began the Shrine’s new campaign, and the lobby was decorated with displays prepared by John Mahon. Frank McHugh decorated the chapels. David Convertino preached at all the Masses and officially launched the campaign. He spoke at the first weekend of Lent Masses as well. All throughout the day, the friars celebrated Masses and heard confessions, and the friars, sisters, staff, and dedicated lay ministry distributed ashes. Shrine volunteers and staff, under the direction of Frances Jarvis, greeted shrine visitors and gave out the campaign packets. At the request of Mayor Menino, two friars, John Maganzini and Bill Fitzgerald, went to City Hall to distribute ashes to the many public servants who work there. Many people commented, “How good it is to see the friars here!”

Friday evening, the archdiocese sponsored the annual Women’s Conference and, all day Saturday, the annual Men’s Conference. Thousands of women and men attended this event. Justin Bailey, David Convertino, Raymond Mann,Donan McGovern, Brian Smail, Steven Pavignano, Andrew Giardino (Hartford), and Stephen Lynch(Providence) served as confessors at the Men’s Conference on Saturday. John Mahon prepared the displays advertising the many ministries of the shrine. John Mahon, John Maganzini, Gregory Day, and Sister Marie Puleo, MFIC, hosted the Saint Anthony Shrine table for these events. All throughout the conference, the friars were deeply touched by the gratitude that was expressed by so many of the participants: “We are so grateful you are in downtown Boston… keep up the good work and thank you!”

The first weekend of Lent after the 4 p.m. Mass on Saturday and the 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Masses on Sunday, Stephen Lynch was guest speaker at the Shrine’s “A Little Something After Mass.” His topic, in honor of the Academy Awards weekend, was “On the Memoirs of a Geisha.”

David Convertino and the house council are in the process of planning some Lenten ongoing formation topics for the friar community. Some suggested topics include a look at the sacrament of reconciliation, using an article written by Raymond Mann; presiding; and a two-evening workshop on men’s health issues and aging. A physician – Dr. Carlin, Steve Doyle‘s nephew-in-law – and a psychologist will address the friar community on two Monday evenings.