By Bob Marra
Father George Butera bid a heartfelt farewell to hundreds of parishioners and invited guests at St. Anthony’s Church as he celebrated his final Mass before retiring after nearly 51 years as an Archdiocesan Priest Saturday at St. Anthony’s Church.
Father Butera, who will remain in active ministry and reside in Boston at the Regina Cleri home, reflected how he was ‘chosen by God’ to the priesthood. He called the St. Anthony’s Parish a great church, made strong by its people and their devotion.
Celebrating St. Anthony’s regular 4 p.m. Saturday Mass with Father Joe Robinson, a fellow seminarian over 50 years ago, Father George said simply, “Wow,” after listening to greetings and accolades from Speaker of the House Bob DeLeo, City Councillors Arthur Guinasso, Dan Rizzo, and John Powers, and Mayor Brian M. Arrigo, who proclaimed Saturday June 1 as “Father George Butera Day” in the City of Revere.
The Mayor spoke of the special place St. Anthony’s holds in the Revere community, both as a place of spiritual fulfillment but also as a landmark to all “…to guide us home. Steady leadership is vital for a church to succeed in its mission,” said Mayor Arrigo.
Robert Bucchino, president of the St. Anthony’s Parish, spoke of Father Butera’s qualities as a priest, citing the Pastor’s welcoming presence and devotion to his Parish and his ministries at Massachusetts General Hospital, among other places.
The Mass was very much a family affair featuring special singing from three of Father Butera’s nieces, Leann, Lisa, and Linda Giovino. Altar servers Saturday included Father Butera’s nephews, Ron Giovino and Rick Giovino, who were the altar servers at his first Mass in 1968.
George Butera, the priest’s brother, was a lector during the Mass. In addition, a group of Indian singers musically expressed their appreciation for the years of assistance that St. Anthony’s has provided to Catholic parishes in India.
A reception followed in the lower church hall, where attendees watched a video depicting Father’s career, and a young Indian dancer, Prisci Srikanth, dressed in traditional garb danced a celebratory dance of gratitude to begin the evening.