Saint Anthony's Fire

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Saint Anthony's Square

( My personal account )

This was the location of Saint Anthony's Church  on the corner of Banning and Dufferin Streets. 
A church that had been built by the Italian immigrants of Port Arthur.

There was a decision to build Saint Francis Church on Hilldale Avenue.  This fell through, and the Parish Priest decided to expand Saint Anthony's of Banning Street.

A few months later, a fire damaged the Church.  In the next few days, the Church was demolished with the promise of moving the Church on the location.   In a few months, the Church was relocated to the site that had been proposed to be the site of Saint Francis.

The property in question became the center of protests, one for the old Church, two for the property, and three for the millions in Insurance money.  

The Church finally sold the property to Habitat for Humanity to build homes.  On the corner lot where the Church had stood there was built a single family home with a small concrete monument entitled, "Saint Anthony's Square.'

Here are some of the untold truths of the event, and how history has failed to record it properly.


In the foreground stands a 2 foot tall concrete monument with the words, Saint Anthony's Square.

Saint Anthony's FIRE

December 8, 1997

<>During the early morning of March 9th, 1990, tragically and  for an undetermined reason a fire severely damaged Saint Anthony's Church.   Shortly afterwards the building was demolished.

The events that followed and are continuing are polarizing and dividing our community.

This is a diary account with updates.........

At the time of the fire I was the Parish Council Secretary, and have detailed the events that followed the fire.

Some within the community believe that the fire was deliberately set, while some might even take the liberty of suggesting that this was the work of the devil, who in its own way, "sets fires" in this world to divide it.

Let us start by saying the Church did not burn down.
The Church was damaged by fire, as you can see in the above picture.

It was levelled within a couple of days by heavy machinery. Parishioners who questioned the priest were advised that the Church would be moved in a different position on the same lot.

No discussions to repair were ever held with the parish council.

Months earlier, the parish priest had instructed the Parish Council Chairman Lawyer  Dino DiGiuseppe to contact engineers to expand the Church.

Within months, there was a fire, within days, the Church had been levelled.

 2 million dollars in insurance money was collected and a new Church built on the property originally set aside for Saint Francis.

The morning after the fire, a shaken Father Herm approached me, saying, "some people were saying that , ......I set the fire."

Was this a confession ? Was this merely co-incidence? Or was this the work of the Devil ?

The story that follows the fire, reaffirms the potential paradoxical nature
of even the Church itself; that there is a potential negative side to all things,
if left unchecked.

Power, whether obtained by force or given by privilege can corrupt.

While I am critical of "some" within "our Church," it should be noted that "the Church" has as its foundations, The Truth, and therefore it is perhaps even more important that in this case the truths within The Truth be pursued and not feared.

Photo by Rita Ubriaco


December 30, 1997

"Saint Anthony's Church, had been the focal point of the immigrant Italian population in Port Arthur, ( now Thunder Bay), during the early part of the century and an important part of The Italian Society of Port Arthur, according to Mr. Mario Nucci, Past President,
at the annual banquet held December 30, 1997.

Mr. Mario Nucci

"68 Years have gone by since the day that a group of Italians founded the
Italian Society of Port Arthur.
Canada was a great country of great opportunity, yet those early days were tough. Not only was it the beginning of the depression, but our founders had nobody to bring their concerns to. Nobody who could give them financial support. Only a good pastor, Father Tomaselli who could give them some support. He supported them by offering the basement of St. Anthony's Church
for them to conduct their meetings.
Not even the hard times, stopped those men from carrying on their work,
for they had it in their hearts what their mission was.
The mission was to unite their fellow Italians, to be good citizens, active and honest, ready to promote their Italian Culture, to help each other and to help those in need during the hard times .....these were the basic foundations of this society.
With the pride of being Italian, their unity and hard work allowed their dreams to come true....and they gained the admiration and respect of the community.....
I hope that the year 1929 remains as example, not just for us today but for us to pass on to our future generations.  Only in this way can we be proud of accomplishing whatever our society requires.

Mr. Mario Nucci
December 30, 1997
The Church was built by the hard work
of the pioneer Italian Immigrants to Canada. St. Anthony's became known as an Italian Church but was attended by all the locals including the newly arriving Portuguese and Central American refugees; it was a Church for Immigrants. The Church was the focal point for many of the Italians of Thunder Bay, built in close proximity to Saint Josephs School
another landmark from days gone, by run by the Sisters of Saint Joseph.
I recall attending the 75th anniversary of Saint Anthony's Church held at the Italian Society of Port Arthur in 1987, and hearing Father Veltri, talk about the discrimination the Italian Community faced in Canada. It was a cousin of Mr. Veltri, who in the early part of this century could not find any work, but by changing his name to Welsh, was able to acquire contracts to build the Canadian National Railway to the Pacific Coast. It was Father Veltri who commented,
"that he felt good about coming back to Thunder Bay, to Saint Anthony's Church, a church where the Italians of the area could call their own; this could not be taken away."
No one expected what was to follow.
In 1990, the local Church decided to build a new church to accommodate the development of the outer city area. It was to be called St. Francis and was to be built on Hilldale Road.
It was perhaps a sign of things to come when the then Bishop O'Mara "took" funds
from the parishioners account to buy the land then asked if he could have it. The parish council was surprised and outraged. Attempts to being this new Church, St. Francis on the Hilldale site were cancelled due to a lack of public support. Father Herm had driven me to the site, and asked that I help build this Church but I declined due to due a lack of time and energy..
In 1990, as Fr. Hermente and the parish council, were planning to expand St. Anthony's Church, a fire swept through St. Anthony's Church during the early morning hours. Father Rizzi ran into the burning building to save some articles and religious items.
The building was damaged, with the basement intact, and much of the walls intact. I walked through the basement and it was untouched. However within days, the structure had been levelled,
with very little attempt or discussion at restoring it.
Following the fire, the community was divided.
The then Bishop, Bishop O'Mara,
decided that the Church would be moved to Hilldale, and rebuilt there.
There was little attempt to handle the situation in a positive manner
that would avoid the divisions that were to follow.
Some of the parishioners did not want this move.
As one said, "If the Bishop wants it this way who are we to say otherwise."
Some argued that they were not against a Church being built on Hilldale,
but the Italian neighbourhood Church, St. Anthony's should be rebuilt.
To accommodate the terms of the insurance policy the Church on Hilldale,
which was to have been St. Francis was changed to St. Anthony's.
The turmoil that followed including the revelation that the Bishop had bought a luxury cottage outside the city divided the community. Finally Pope John Paul II himself transferred Bishop O'Mara.
Many parishioners, felt unable to address the Church for fear of retaliation.
The new Saint Anthony's Church built on Hilldale lost it Italian designation.
A teacher teaching with the local separate board, was blacklisted for speaking out
against the mishandling and decisions of the Church. Many parishioners have sons and daughters
that work for the Catholic School Board and Local Catholic Hospital system and felt pressured to not speak out for justice. I personally did not appreciate the manner
in which the Church handled the situation,
and I was content to attend the other local Church St. Andrews.
But, my attitude changed when I became aware
of the anti-Italian attitude of some of the High Church Leaders.
I had expected that an Italian mass would have been said at St. Andrews Church to service those Italians within the downtown core.
In a fact certain priests were not allowed to say any words in Italian at the funerals of Italian members at Saint Andrews.

During this time, some of the parishioners decided to hold a protest procession from Saint Andrews to the site of Saint Anthony's Church on Banning Street. 
The procession was led by a police cruiser followed by Adolfo Zavagnin carrying a 14 foot tall cross on his shoulder.

Mr. Adolfo Zavagnin

Switzerland  -Convent - Sister DeLariva and the Zavagnin brothers.
- Sister Teresa DeLariva (aunt), Adolfo Zavagnin 17 year old (far left) and Tagezio Zavagnin -
Convent in Switzerland - Circa 1949

 In front of the monument the Zavagnin brothers built.  Adolfo continues with his  volunteer work at Festa Italiana in Thunder Bay every year.

Maria  (nee Boss)  and  Antonio Zavagnin


Tribute to the memory of the parents of Adolfo Zavagnin

Maria nee Boss and  Antonio Zavagnin
San Steno
Married 1924 - May 14, 1924

" They can be very, very proud of their children, especially Adolfo Zavagnin...

Caesar J. B.  Squitti

(Zavagnin family from San Steno di Levenza Provensia Venezia, Italy)
San Steno Di Levenza - Venezia Italy - 1929
Adolfo Zavagnin (left to right) - Gino Federico - Alfonso Zavagnin - Leno Crozalion -Tony Zavagnin - Valeriano Zavagnin

Adolfo carried the cross followed by some 150 people.   Near the front of the procession was Rita Ubriaco, carrying a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

( If you have any pictures please email them to us.)  

Below you will note the picture of the wooden cross carried by Adolfo Zavagnin as it stood on the site of the Saint Anthony's Church. The site became a centre for prayers for the elderly Italians of the area who were forgotten by the Church leaders. Sometime afterwards, during the night, a truck with chains tore down the cross in the early hours of the morning. Below you will see a picture of a metal cross that was set into concrete to replace the wooden cross that was torn down. That cross too was cut down..

On Saint Anthony's day the parishioners meet at the Banning Street location as is the Italian custom to hand out "the 13 loaves" of bread.

Father Kennedy, the interim Bishop, decided to have meetings with the parishioners at the site to and he "attempted to negotiate the situation peacefully." I met with Fr. Kennedy on the former site,
and on the first day, suggested that the parishioners would be satisfied if only a small part of the land, the area where the church was actually standing on,
be set aside as a memorial site for the Italian community; Father Kennedy agreed.

Father Kennedy was surprised with our demands,
as he was expecting us to ask rebuild the church.

Some of the parishioners would have been quite content to have a small memorial built on the site of the former church.

The Church would then have taken the rectory,
the insurance funds and several other lots.

I believed this was a more than fair solution.
"The Church" changed its mind
with Father Kennedy forgetting his promise.

Witnesses included Mr. Mauro, and Mr. Stilla.
Mr. Stilla turned to me, after I had told him that we had reached a solution, and commented, "Are you going to believe him, are a fool," and at the time I laughed. I asked Father Kennedy if he was willing to put his promise into writing, and he agreed.

The next day Father Kennedy returned
forgetting the settlement we had agreed upon.

To make matters worse, an incident developed to which Fr. Kennedy manipulated the media to his advantage, an incident that need not have happened since we had reached a settlement to have the area where the Church stood, set aside for a religious park.

The new Bishop, Bishop Henry
was informed of this situation, and suggested Fr. Kennedy
was not in any position to make such a deal, and stated to me
"you are no longer in the the loop."

(Click to view original letter)

In an attempt to draw public support, Bishop Henry proposes to sell the land,
to Habitat for Humanity. Tragically , Habitat has been placed into this conflict, with Habitat, stating they will take down

"the cross"

so as not to offend prospective buyers; is the group offended by Jesus Christ.
And then suggest that the parishioners help build these homes;
without resolving the underlying issue.

The manipulation is very evident because
there is land across the street that could be sold, but it appears
Bishop Henry is trying to prove a point.

In 1996, Bishop Henry in an action that speaks for itself,
sent a letter to the Italian Society of Port Arthur
advising them that the annual mass for the deceased members
could not be held at the Italian Centennial Hall
because of Church regulations.

The members were outraged as the memorial mass
had been carried out for many years and many saw this for what it was.

A meeting was held with many of the Italian leaders
within the community, including Mr. Mario Nucci, Mr. Tony Tarsitano, Mr. John Talarico, Mr. Joe Commuzzi, Mr. Tom Cava; it was after this that the Bishop Henry changed his mind.
While Bishop Henry has sought fit to offload the responsibility
of dealing with this issue to Habitat for Humanity,
a socially minded organization,
it is even more ironic that at the same time The Italian Centennial Hall
lost its Head Cook from its Garibaldi Restaurant Operation
to the Bishop's Residence,
at a far greater salary; now that's ironic and representative
of the manipulation.

At this time, December 8, 1997,
it appears the some local Church officials have exhibited a lack of respect for the Italian community with absolutely no respect for the contributions, work and heritage of the Italian Community nor for resolving this issue.
The local developer contacted me regarding settling the dispute
to get the land rezoned, and suggested that "we build closure."
Talk about a double meaning...
the closure he suggested was not the memorial we had suggested
but merely a ceremony to close our protest.....
When approached with this suggestion
by the head of the Local Habitat for Humanity,
and their "closure" offer,
I informed them that the group had been promised
the area where the Church stood to build a memorial.
To his idea of "closure" I suggested we were not Indians
that could be bought with mere "tokens".....

Today, The Habitat for Humanity is approaching City Hall
to re-zone the property including the site that was promised for the memorial.
The truth must, and it will be told......
for no other reason that the very foundations
of this Church this Religion is based on

The Truth.........
Why is it that the Roman Catholic Church has so few Italian Bishops, or more importantly Good Bishops here in Canada ?
(this was posted in the first week of January)

As of January 15, 1998,
Bishop Henry was transferred to Calgary.
As of today, February 21, 1998, the Church has repeatedly said that the property has been sold.
Investigations with the local records department reveals that this is not the truth; they are lying.

As of March 10, 1998, Habitat for Humanity has won the right to re-zone the property that was promised to the group, for housing for the poor, while two lots across the street remain empty.
It is unfortunate that Habitat f Humanity and the Local City Council have been manipulated into a situation by former Bishop Henry. Statements attributed to city hall, call the group as not representative of Saint Anthony's Church and as being an embarrassment to the Saint Anthony's.

My response is that we are not representative of Saint Anthony's Church but represent the many people who feel outraged, insulted, rejected and lied to by the Church.

As far as being an embarrassment, I am not embarrassed to represent people who cannot stand up for themselves, and who have been victimized by the Church Bishops. As a citizen of the Thunder Bay, I am embarrassed about the local Hospital issue, I am embarrassed about the local water issue, I am embarrassed about the local drug and crime issue, but I am not embarrassed about taking up a legitimate cause for a people too good to complain.

As a Christian and as a Catholic I am embarrassed about how "these" Bishops have handled this situation and how they paradoxically live a life of luxury while the needs of the poor are not met. (March 11, 1998)

The story continues . . . . . . . . drop back........


Letter to the Editor: Crossing the Cross.?

March 14, 1998

In the middle of Canada, halfway, between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans is Thunder Bay, Ontario. From its hills you can see the legendary "Sleeping Giant" a mythical god, that forms a Mountain across the lake, a god betrayed for a mine of silver, or so goes the legend..

In the city of Thunder Bay, at the former site of Saint Anthony's Church there stands, a cross, a 15-foot tall Metal Cross erected, on the former site of Saint Anthony's Church. This Cross, is a monument to the many truths concerning the fire at Saint Anthony's Church that have divided a community.

The Cross is a symbol of Jesus Christ whose trial and crucifixion we remember, at Easter, an event that happened some two thousand years later. It was at his trial that Pontius Pilate asked the question, "What is Truth?" It appears, that the answer was nailed to a cross, where Jesus Christ, proclaimed to the World, his message that he was "The Light of the World."

It appears that with the discovery of "anti+truths," the negative side to truth, that "different colors" of the rainbow are to the Light as different truths are to The Truth. Both truth and Light can be polarizing if they are not whole. A simple message that provided a "cross" between science and religion. Jesus Christ, betrayed by even his followers of the day, for a "bag full of silver.

In 1990, several months prior to undertaking a major expansion renovation of Saint Anthony's Church, on Banning Street, a fire severely damaged the Church. The Church was quickly bulldozed. The funds from the Insurance policy were used to build another Church on the proposed site of Saint Francis of Assis, on the outskirts of town. The name of the Church was changed to accommodate the terms of the insurance policy. The site had been originally purchased with controversial funds "taken" without prior approval by the then Bishop, Bishop O'Mara, from the Saint Anthony's Parish.

Saint Anthony's Church had been a focus point of the Italian Community, within Port Arthur, located within walking Distance from the Italian Society of Port Arthur. It was a community church, that, "Could not be taken away from the Italians," these were the words of Father Veltri, at the 75th Anniversary of Saint Anthony's Church. The Italian Community had long since been victims of negative discrimination, and it was Father Veltri's cousin Mr. Welsh, who upon changing his name, to a more politically correct one received numerous contracts to build the CN railroad from Thunder Bay to the Pacific Coast.

The controversy surrounding Saint Anthony' Church resulted in the removal of the then Bishop O'Mara, by Pope John Paul II, when it became known that the Bishop had built himself a luxury cottage.

Bishop O'Mara was replaced by Bishop Henry who arrived in Thunder Bay in 1995. I informed him by letter that I had been the former secretary to the Parish council of Saint Anthony's Church and that "we" had arrived at a solution to the Saint Anthony's Fire Banning Street Location, at several meetings with Father Kennedy.

Bishop Henry replied, "That You are no longer in the Loop," and that Father Kennedy was in no position to make such "a deal."

The solution called for a small part of the property, where the church stood, the portion where the cross stands to be set aside as a memorial park in recognition of the former Italian Parish of Saint Anthony's, its pioneers, its founders and a history based on discrimination; a modest settlement.

It is unfortunate that Bishop Henry, with a solution at hand, opted to sell the land in question to Habitat for Humanity. It is unfortunate that Habitat for Humanity and Thunder Bay City Council, have been unnecessary "pawns" in this game, that sees the "King" leaving with City Hall and Habitat having to pick up this "hot potato."

It is unfortunate that further dividing and negative comments are being made by City Council. Statements that say that we do not represent the parish of Saint Anthony's, and that we are "an embarrassment."

Let me clarify, I nor anyone in this group represent, Saint Anthony's Parish, but I do represent the past parishioners of the parish who have sacrificed to build a church and a community, and feel mistreated by the past "two Bishops" given the details of the fire, the insurance money and more. As far as embarrassment, I am not embarrassed of having to defend these people's dignity and respect, but I am embarrassed by the manner in which these two Bishops, with their luxury cottages, Cooks and similar trappings, have mishandled this affair, pitting people against people, when a solution was a move away. All this while halfway around the world, Mother Teresa fed the poor.

As a third generation city resident I am however, embarrassed about the current hospital issue which is "killing people," I am embarrassed about the current drug problem within the city with allegations of internal involvement, I am however embarrassed about the cities performance with a declining population and declining downtown cores, and I am embarrassed about the current "drinking water" problems in this city......but no, I am not embarrassed about defending a blatant injustice, against a humble and honest people. I will not be treated like the system treated our brothers, the native Indians.

It is a tragic statement about this situation that two lots across the street remain empty while Habitat for Humanity insists on taking down a Cross, a monument to Jesus Christ, betrayed for a "pocketful of silver" and denied by his followers because they feared to tell the Truth. It appears that history does repeat itself: the story stays the same, IT IS THE PLAYERS THAT CHANGE.

Caesar Squitti

Letter to the Editor: Betraying Christ: Then and Now.

March 17, 1998

Christ; Betrayed then and now !

In the article, from Habitat for Humanity concerning their proposed development on Banning Street, it mentions that they canvassed all the homes in the area, but fails to disclose that some individuals within the area did definitely disagree with the project, as initially developed; that is a deceptive half-truth. Why?

Many of the residents within the area were convinced to advised that the development would include that "a closure" would be built for the cross at Saint Anthony's. Not a physical closure but an abstract "closure" of ceremony; that was and is such a deceptive statement; Why was it used ?

The article also states that "three men," were objecting to the development. That is not the truth. There are two groups who are objecting to the development for different reasons. The first group, representing the former parishioners of Saint Anthony's, who were promised the area where the Church Stood as a memorial, and the second group, who represent neighbourhood concerns; regarding zoning changes. Both have the same goal, but represent many people, within the area and the city some who would rather.

If Habitat for Humanity, a Christian Organization, is intent on building four duplexes on the property, including a single home on the land promised as a memorial in memory of Saint Anthony's Church, why do they and The Church ignore two empty Church lots across the street remain idle. I must ask the question, Why?

Lets appreciate that the former Saint Anthony's parishioners had moneys taken from them by the former Bishop to buy the land for Saint Francis, on Hilldale. The damaged Saint Anthony's Church was quickly bulldozed after the fire, even though several months prior, plans were to have begun to renovate and expand the Church at the Banning Street Location. The area lost its Italian Ethnic Church, as the funds were used to build Saint Francis, which had its name changed, a project the local dioceses had wanted to develop earlier but failed. In light of this, a small memorial was promised by Father Kennedy. Why do we ignore this solution?

It is a shame that a Bishop with years of Theology training would use "Habitat for Humanity" as a pawn. Bishop Henry has "left" Thunder Bay for Calgary, disposing of his problem, in a tactful perhaps pre planned manner sacrificing one Christian group for another. This behaviour reflects a lack of respect for the mostly Italian Parishioners of Saint Anthony's, that was displayed by Bishop O'Mara; they obviously came from the same school.

In the short time Bishop Henry was in Thunder Bay, he was also able to offend many of the Italian Community by stating that Memorial Mass at the Italian Hall would no longer be permitted; his true colors did show through.

The Church, with its "luxury cottages," and "cooks" and Habitat for Humanity for Habitat, with their "all or nothing" attitude should learn that as Christian organizations, Jesus Christ, was about "humility," "sharing," and above all telling "The Truth." What we have seen is the manipulation of truths and half-truths that polarize a community.

Whether, the Cross stands or not, all the players in this story will have proven much and perhaps that is just as important how Christ was and is betrayed then and now; HAPPY EASTER !

Caesar Squitti

Letter from Lawyer / Habitat for Humanity:

March 19, 1998

Dear Mr. Serrao, Mr. Squitti & Mr. Zavagnin:

Re: Habitat for Humanity Thunder Bay Rezoning Banning Street

I represent Habitat for Humanity Thunder Bay Inc. (Habitat) in the above noted transaction.

Habitat, its members and supporters have asked me to write to you concerning your publicly stated plans to appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board the rezoning by the City of Thunder Bay. habitat wishes you to know how they stand with respect to your concerns and objections.

I believe you know that the zoning amendment would allow Habitat to construct four semi-detached dwellings and one single detached dwelling on the lot at Banning and Dufferin Streets--a project known as St. Anthony's Square.

You did not attend and object at the Council meeting held in December nor at the Committee of Adjustment meeting in February. under Ontario law, you have severely damaged your position to object, and I have instructions to characterize your late objections as frivolous and vexatious, to seek costs against you and to move for early dismissal of your objections. Your appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board will result in many thousands of dollars of extra construction expenses and legal cost s for my client, and I will recommend commencing a civil lawsuit against you for these. If you wish to meet with me so that I can show you the law on these points, please call.

The zoning amendment bylaw was passed unanimously by City Council, after a long and public process. City Report #391/97 points out that the Official Plan supports the zoning amendments,. The creation of smaller lots and affordable housing is further supported by the Provincial Policy Statement. I am confident that the Ontario Municipal Board would uphold the zoning amendment.

My clients remain respectful to the history fo the site and invite you to join them in dedicating and naming the property, which will be marked with a sidewalk type plaque. You are also invited to be a part of the volunteer construction crew, as Habitat builds homes and builds hope at St. Anthony's Square. You would be welcomed in the spirit of reconciliation and a new beginning.

Habitat for Humanity respectfully requests you not to object to the Ontario Municipal Board.

I am of the opinion that you dispute is with the Bishop, not Habitat.

Yours truly

Renee Larson

Letter to the City Council

March 19, 1998

Re: Saint Anthony's Property Banning Street

His Worship Mayor Ken Boshcoff and Councillors fax: 343-9114

To whom it may Concern::

I am receipt of a letter from Mr. Rene Larson, representing Habitat for Humanity concerning the property of Saint Anthony's Church on Banning Street including my name with Anthony Serrao, as suggesting that I have been involved with the current land re- zoning complaints concerning Saint Anthony's Property. . It has also been mistakenly stated in the local papers that "three Men" are opposing Habitat for Humanity.

Let me first state, that I represent some of the former parishioners of Saint Anthony's Church who had reached a verbal agreement with Father Kennedy to have a memorial built on the land where the Church Stood. While I agree with some of the concerns voiced by the citizen within the area, that are objecting to the scope of the development and its re zoning, I am not directly involved with their work.

For Mr. Rene Larson to include my name on your letter of March 19, 1998 reflects a misinterpretation to this reality and I assume it is because I showed up to a council meeting to view the presentation, by Mr. Anthony Serrao, objecting to the re-zoning, at City Hall in March, that was declined by City Council.

Having said that, I being to your attention, that Habitat for Humanity was made aware of the negotiations with Father Kennedy in 1997, and again last week in my discussions with Mrs. Cook. Habitat for Humanity was also made aware of two Church owned lots that are available across the street, if they require additional lots..

I have been also informed by Mr. Serraro, that he did show up to the December meeting at City Hall where he talked to Mr. Rene Larso, unfortunately Mr. Sarro arrived at 6:40 for the 7:00 o'clock City Council Meeting, only to find that the item was dealt with at the Committee of the Whole Meeting that started at 6:30.

It is that City Council be made aware that the current direction by Habitat for Humanity, is in contravention with the deal made with Father Kennedy, that their project calling for four duplexes, and one single family home, with the single family home contravening the deal made with Father Kennedy on the site for the sole purpose of resolving this issue.

There is no doubt that our dispute is with the Bishop, which you know relates to a small portion of the land, where the Cross is situated and that Habitat for Humanity would take down, if their current plans proceed. I am disappointed that even Habitat for Humanity takes such a stand on this issue, especially given that it too is a Christian based organization. Let us save ourselves the time and energy and deal with the issues.

City Council should be aware that at least one individual contacted me when Habitat was canvassing the area, suggesting to me that they were under the impression that Habitat for Humanity was going to build "closure" around the property at Saint Anthony's and the Cross, which some within the area believed to be a physical structure.

I express my concern, that some within Habitat have used deceptive "half-truths" stating that "they talked with me" and have suggested that I am in support of them, when in fact I am support of their work, and their projects, but not this particular one as it stands because of the minor prior agreement with Father Kennedy.

It is also hoped that Habitat for Humanity will not force this issue, given the fact that the Bishop who made "this deal" has left town.

I am truly hoping to resolve this issue in such a manner that further negative publicity to The Church and Habitat for Humanity is avoided especially when a solution is at hand and in light of the Christian Nature of both organizations and the harmful impact to all those involved and in this City.

Sincerely yours,

Caesar Squitti

March 23, 1998

It has come to my attention that one individual who had sent a notice to the City of Thunder Bay, complaining about the zoning changes, was contacted by Habitat for Humanity, and in their discussions was told that "he was the only individual" in the area complaining, and that one other individual had only asked question.

We know of at least three people who sent three letters of complaint to the city zoning office and I am to believe that Habitat for Humanity, has been actively engaged in rather deceptive lobbying of this issue in the area.

Habitat for Humanity, continues to stress that it is building homes for the poor. The truth is that they sell houses to those who qualify, and at market value, and with no interest. I was sent a letter inviting me to volunteer, but ask why should they be charging for my inputs?

Letter To Habitat for Humanity

A letter was received November 9, 1998 from Habitat for Humanity requesting that the cross be removed from the area. The project for the property has been approved by the Ontario Municipal Board. To build 9 units on this property. My reply is outlined below.

Mr. John Ayearst
Habitat for Humanity
Thunder Bay, Ontario P7A 7W7

November 16, 1998

Re: Saint Anthony's Property on Bay Street

Dear Mr. Ayearst:

I thank you for your letter of November 9th, 1998, which I received November 12.

As you are aware Bishop Henry, entered into agreement with you, despite unresolved settlement with the former parishioners of the site, where the cross now stands.

You were also made aware of this, and the agreement made by Father Kennedy, to leave a small portion of the said property, for a memorial. (Verbal agreement)

I also bring to your attention two empty church lots across the street that the church could offer you in exchange for the area where the Church stood.

Given that you entered into agreement knowing the controversy concerning the property, given that you were informed of the "promise" with Father Kennedy, and also given that the current Church representative, Monsignor Bazin of November 16, 1998 was not aware of the empty lots across the street, and given the fact that Bishop Henry has left Thunder Bay, it would seriously jeopardize the integrity of your organization to enter and finalize the deal, and or removing the cross.

The property, as its stands or will stand, will be monument to the truths and lies of all those involved; be very careful, the reputation of Habitat for Humanity, is at a cross-roads.

As I know some of the individuals within Habitat it is hoped you will have the vision to resolve this issue, even while the Church has sought to play games.

It Habitat for Humanity is at all concerned about "community" and helping the people of this area, it will reconsider its options in light of all that has happened and will happen.

Sincerely yours,

Caesar Squitti

Pictured below are members of the Church planting a metal cross into the ground, to replace the wooden cross in the background that was torn down by vandals. The cross made up steel, incorporated the wooden cross between its panels.

It was a beautiful day, as many Italian elders gathered to plant this cross, many of them wearing their Sunday suits. Someone contacted the Church and Police officers were dispatched to the area, and as we discussed the legalities of the cross with the Thunder Bay Officers, the cross set into the concrete, let me say to the delightment of some of the Police officers who were Italian.

In the month of November 1998, in the early pre-dawn hours staff from Habitat for Humanity, "cut down" the cross, with a torch........the cross still had upon it the Christmas decorations........and a statue of Saint Anthony's, all of which have not been returned....Signs were erected by the Diocese advising people that to set foot on the property was trespassing.

As of October 6, 2000, Habitat for Humanity has built one duplex on the site. The plans call for a total of 4 duplexes and 1 single home. In my opinion this will become a monument to the corruption within the Church. The Church has named the square Saint Anthony's and erected a concrete block in honour of this Saint. This monument, measures some two feet tall, and reflects the total lack of compassion and respect for the Italian community by the Bishops, who dealt with this entire matter. As far as the Habitat for Humanity homes. Well, as they say, this is not a hand out but a hand up, whereby individuals use "sweat equity" for a down payment, and then purchase the house at fair market value without interest. Thunder Bay has a high vacancy rate, and many homes are available for thousands of dollars less than the value of these homes. The message is that "the poor" really cannot afford these homes, and this was merely a publicity ploy on behalf of Bishop Henry.

In the future I will post a picture of this development and the "stupid" monument to Saint Anthony and the Italian Community that "The Church" has allowed.

As of October 15, 2000 the Bishop's of Thunder Bay reside in a Mansion. Truly a fitting monument to the hypocrisy of The Church in Thunder Bay.

Saint Anthony's Directory June 6th, 2001

(the manipulation of truth continues and reveals how truth can lie)

Philosophy: A new discovery about how Truth can lie !

Taken from the St. Anthony's Parish Directory: June 6th 2001 with the actual copy above.

"On March 6, 1990 tragedy struck St. Anthony's. A devastating fire completely destroyed the building. Within a matter of days, Rev. Hermente Nazzani and a committee of parishioners began the difficult task of rebuilding and to continue serving the parishioners. Weekly masses were offered in the gymnasium of Holy Cross School, while baptisms, weddings and funerals took place a t Corpus Christi and St. Andrew's churches. Land was soon acquired on the corner of Hilldale and Dawson Rd."

First of all let me say, that the fire of March 6, did not destroy the Church, it was damaged; this is a manipulation of the truth in history. In fact some people believed that it could have been repaired.

Second, the rebuilding did not being within a matter of days, at least not for the location on Hilldale. A day after the fire, the Church was demolished and while some complained about this, the word given the parishioners was that the church would be rebuilt on the site, but in a more central location.

The next day, the damaged Church with basement intact was levelled to the ground, with the understanding that it would be rebuilt on the same site. Within weeks, perhaps months, the decision came from the Bishop, Bishop O'Mara that the Church would be built on the site of the lot purchased years prior, for Saint Francis.

Three, the statement about weekly masses, is partly true. Weekly masses at Holy Cross School were held prior to the fire as well, in anticipation of the soon to be built Saint Francis. In addition masses at Saint Andrews were held for the community as Bishop O'Mara and the Italian community struggled with the question as to where to build.

Four, land was not acquired after the fire as the directory states. The land where Saint Anthony's stands was originally purchased to build Saint Francis of Assisi several years earlier. The plan to build Saint Francis did not proceed due to the fact that the Italian parishioners from Saint Anthony's on Banning Street continued to worship on Banning Street.

This last statement provides a new dimension to truth; true TRUTH truth can lie when A TRUTH it is put out of TIME sequence, to infer assumptions that are not true. Absolute truths are relative to Time.

Caesar Squitti, June 2001

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*End of Section 3

Front Page Index Sec 1 Sec 2 Sec 3 Sec 4 Sec 5 Sec 6 Sec 7 Sec 8

Section 1- Anti+truths, Half-truths and The Bible
Section 2- Jesus Christ, The Light...The Rainbow of Truth
Section 3 - Saint Anthony's Fire
Section 4 - Anti+truths Polarizing Truths
Section 5 - Health Care Truths
Section 6 - Letters to the Editor: Truths, Half-truths and Lies
Section 7- The Faces of Feminism...The Good, The Bad, The Sick
Section 8 - The Light..The Rainbow of Truth Positive Links




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