This Is Our Story ...
Our church was built with love and devotion ~ the love and devotion of a priest dedicated to a long-time dream; the love and devotion of an architect devoted to making the priest's dream a reality; and the love and devotion of the artisans, craftsmen, and especially the people of the North Hill Italian Community to build a monument to God and to Saint Anthony of Padua. The love and devotion of the people and priests of Saint Anthony of Padua has continued through 70 years. We have grown and prospered and have been blessed in many ways.
St. Anthony of Padua Church
From its humble beginnings, St. Anthony of Padua Parish has grown and prospered. In 1931, the Rev. Salvatore Marino was appointed Pastor to oversee the building of an Italian parish in Akron, Ohio. Father Marino had been educated at The Catholic University at Palermo and in Rome, Italy. He had always had a dream of building a church. Art galleries and beautiful cathedrals of Europe had inspired the young man as he studied for the priesthood. These inspirations of Father Marino, combined with the talent of the builder, Mr. Sam De Maio, created the beautiful St. Anthony of Padua Church of Akron.
In the beginning, a basement chapel was built to hold services until the church was completed. The construction of the church took seven years of toil and love during the depression years before its completion. Many men of the North Hill area were out of work and they devoted their time and labor in building the exterior of the church. Every day at noon the men were served a big hot meal cooked by their wives. The food was donated by the families of the church. The women gathered the food by walking all over North Hill with their children's red wagons.
The material to build the church was obtained by Father Marino from many and often distant sources. The beautiful interior of the church, with the exception of the roof and the ceilings of the sacristies and the vestibule, is entirely of marble. The marble and colored glass form many different and beautiful mosaics. Fifteen to twenty different kinds of marble were used in the designs. The different kinds of marble include Cremona, Spanish, Portuguese, French, African, Rosa, Verona, Sienna, Pavenaccio and Botticino.
The church was dedicated and the altar consecrated on November 17, 1940 by Bishop James A. McFadden. In October 1943, a fund-raising drive commenced to pay off the church mortgage. The drive concluded on April 20, 1944.
Father Marino died November 11, 1943 at the age of 59, following a short illness. Archbishop Edward F. Hoban appointed Rev. Angelo J. Trivisonno as the new Pastor. St. Anthony of Padua Parish grew and prospered under the direction of Father Angelo. A school was built in 1954 and a convent was built to house the Religious Teachers Filippini in 1958.
The title of Monsignor was conferred upon Father Angelo Trivisonno on March 10, 1960. Monsignor Trivisonno was Pastor for 30 years until his retirement on May 28, 1974.
The Rev. James V. Ragnoni was appointed to succeed Monsignor Trivisonno as Pastor of Saint Anthony of Padua Parish in 1974. Father Jim had been an Associate Pastor at St. Anthony of Padua Parish from 1960 to 1965. During his years at St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Father Jim completed paying off the school mortgage. His emphasis turned toward building a gym for the school and parish. A committee was formed, and within six months a Community Center was built. Due to the generosity of parishioners and friends of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, the building was paid in full the day it was completed, June 13, 1990. Today, the Community Center houses the gymnasium, art room, library and computer lab.
Father Edward Burba joined the parish staff in July, 2010. Father Jim retired in October, 2013, and Father Burba became the new Pastor. Father Jim remained in residence at St. Anthony Parish until his death on August 1, 2016.
Under the direction of Bishop Richard Lennon in 2010, St. Anthony of Padua School and North Akron Catholic School were reconfigured. Instead of each school enrolling students in grades K-8, St. Anthony of Padua School enrolled students in grades K-5, and North Akron Catholic School enrolled students in grades 6-8. Three years later, St. Anthony of Padua School added back its 6th grade. A year after that, St. Anthony of Padua School added back the 7th and 8th grades for the 2014-2015 school year, making it once again a K-8 school.
St. Anthony of Padua School continues to teach and inspire its students under the leadership of an excellent staff. St. Anthony of Padua School offers a full curriculum that includes music, art, computer technology, math enrichment, and physical education. Tuition is kept a a minimum to help today's parents provide a quality education for their children. Although the parish is still predominantly Italian, the student population consists of children from all races and ethnic backgrounds. St. Anthony of Padua School offers its students a strong academic program in an atmosphere rich with tradition and Catholic values.
We are very proud of our parish and school. We hope to continue to serve the needs of our North Hill community and provide our students with the best education possible for generations to come.