St. Anthony’s Church, 850 Arsenal St., is celebrating its centennial this year and it has a new stained-glass window for the milestone.
The large round window in the choir loft, overlooking the street, was replaced Wednesday by Lynchburg Stained Glass, of Lynchburg, Va.
In November 1903, Monsignor Joseph H. Conroy, as Vicar General and Administrator of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, gave permission to Rev. Onesime A. Boyer to build a church in the “flats,” a mostly Italian neighborhood on the city’s west end.
In 1920, Rev. Claude Sechi, a native of Italy, announced plans for what for what was to become a long-term project on Arsenal Street. Work started in 1921, but was stopped due to a lack of funds. For the next nine years, the partial structure was the place of worship for the Italian congregation.
Not until at least $30,000 had been raised would the bishop of Ogdensburg allow construction to resume. To meet that challenge, a drive was conducted in which parish members purchased bricks for the structure.
That accomplished, work resumed on April 5, 1930. A $35,000 mortgage was obtained four months later, covering the balance of the total cost of $75,000. Over the next six to seven months, an old house that had served as St. Anthony’s Chapel was again filling that role. Come September 1930, the anticipated completion of the new church seemed a distance off.
The work was coming along, but funds were running out. A parishioner, Cosimo Renzi, a 46-year-old founder of Renzi Brothers wholesale grocery company, was compelled to speak out in his position as chairman of the building and financial drive committees.
To the people who were failing to keep up on their pledges for the construction, he appealed, “The quicker we receive the money, the sooner the church will be completed.”
His words apparently served well. The current church was dedicated Dec. 14, 1930.