Parishioners Fete St. Anthony Over Weekend
The festival honored St. Anthony, while serving as a reunion of sorts for festival-goers.
Four men shouldered the status of St. Anthony of Padua Saturday afternoon in St. Anthony's Church and led a short procession up Main Street.
So began the church’s 32nd St. Anthony’s festival.
The festival is a time for people to come together, explained Rev. John Carroll, the parish’s assistant pastor, like a reunion. And, like its namesake, who reached out to the poor, to help the less fortunate, Fr. Carroll continued, the church’s Friends of St. Anthony also helps those in need.
The smell of fried dough wafted over the booths at the festival adjacent to the church. Servers of hot dogs, hamburgers and sausage beckoned. A singer crooned, “That’s Amore.”
Mike Fionda from North Woburn said he has been coming to the festival his whole life “to see neighbors and friends you haven’t seen all year” and to say a prayer to St. Anthony.
Similarly, Jo Clancy said she has come to the festival for at least 40 years, in devotion to St. Anthony. “We were brought up with it,” she said. Her husband used to be an usher at St. Anthony’s Church, she said, and they worked on the festival for many years.
Gennaro Grasso, who said his wife, Charlotte, was baptized at St. Anthony’s, invited friends from Peabody, Al and Marilyn DiSalvo, to the event. Grasso lives just over the Woburn/Wilmington line, on the Wilmington said, near the church. Money raised at the festival is used, he said, for church projects.
Medford resident Evalyn O’Rourke came for the first time this year to the festival because her father-in-law was working at a food booth serving meatballs. Her daughter, Haley, had her face painted to look like a butterfly at the face painting booth.
The statue of St. Anthony was placed in a special spot at the festival. He eventually wore a green “coat” of paper currency.
A group of people followed the procession of the statue up Main Street and into the festival area, including Martin and Teeja Vareeth. In their country—the south of India—they used to have a feast of Saint Anthony, Teeja explained. Miracles happen when you pray to him, she said.
One of those miracles happened, Tricia Carnovali said, to her. St. Anthony is the patron of, among others, women, especially regarding childbearing, according to a leaflet at about him at the church. Carnovali said she prayed to St. Anthony for a miracle and got one—her son, Michael, 4.