NEW YORK — Nine decades have passed since John Forrest Loviner, OFM, and the friars of Holy Name Province established St. Anthony’s Guild. Now, Guild leaders, the Province’s partners in fundraising, are recognizing all that members and the friars have done through the years.
A 90th anniversary celebration with activities for both friends of the Province and the friars is planned for March 29. This will include an 11 a.m. Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street, celebrated by Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, with executive director David Convertino, OFM, preaching the homily, as well as an exhibit of the personalities, art, photography and collected works of St. Anthony’s Guild. The display, “Walk With Us Through Time,” will be viewable from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. in San Damiano Hall at 127 W. 31st St.
All friars are invited “to join us for the Mass, which is another way to thank members for supporting the young men studying to become friars, supporting the care of the elderly and infirmed friars, and supporting the friars in their many ministries that are devoted to the poor and marginalized,” said David. “We will award the Francis Medal to two of our employees for their years of dedicated service. After the Mass, people will have the opportunity to venerate the Great Relic of St. Anthony, one of the Guild’s historical treasures.”
A luncheon for friars will follow the Mass, said David. “We want to include everyone in this celebration,” he added. “We’re planning to arrange transportation for the senior friars who live in New Jersey.”
The Mass will not only commemorate the organizations’s past 90 years and accomplishments. The service will also celebrate the devotion to St. Anthony by many community members, according to David.
“The Mass calls us into community with one another to experience the love and acceptance of Christ,” David said. “While members of the Guild are located all over the world, their commitment to St. Anthony and the Franciscan friars of Holy Name Province made them part of that community. Even though many members cannot be present at the actual Mass, they can pray during that time for their special intentions to St. Anthony, which we will also remember during the celebration. The Mass will also be videotaped, edited and sent to members who request a copy.”
In a letter distributed to members late last month, David said “90 years after Franciscan Father John Forrest founded the Guild with 10 volunteers around a small kitchen table in Paterson, N.J., we are still strong, alive and filled with great devotion to our patron saint St. Anthony of Padua.”
St. Anthony’s Guild is offering an assortment of commemorations of the organization’s long history. Since last year, the Guild’s magazine, The Anthonian, has been providing historical information about the organization that was established in 1924. The spring-summer 2013 issue marked the beginning of a yearlong celebration that includes special monthly mailings about St. Anthony, a special issue of The Anthonian on the organization’s history, and a year of prayer dedicated to members.
The 2014 calendar shows photos of the six friars who have directed the Guild through the years. Those who preceded David and followed John Forrest include the late Salvator Fink, OFM, the late John Piccione, OFM, and Kevin Mackin, OFM, and Joseph Hertel, OFM. The calendar displays images of “90 Years of Love at Work”: photos of covers of past Anthonian magazines as well as photos of friars in previous eras. Previous issues of the Anthonian are available online.
Those planning to attend the March 29 celebration are asked to RSVP to the Guild office at email@example.com. That Saturday will conclude another acknowledgement to the Guild’s many years of service — the 90 Prayers in 90 Days initiative the HNP Development Office conducted on social media for the first three months of this year.
Donations may be made to the Guild through the Support our Work page of the HNP website.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.