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Rev Fr Walter “Wally” Anthony

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Rev Fr Walter “Wally” Anthony

  • Birth 8 Oct 1924 Flint, Genesee County, Michigan, USA
  • Death 11 Dec 2004 New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
  • Burial Oak Ridge, Passaic County, New Jersey, USA
  • Memorial ID 95340450

Wladimir Romaniuk was born October 8, 1924, in Flint, Michigan. After his widowed mother remarried, Wladimir was legally adopted by his stepfather and changed his name to Walter Anthony Maslanka. (In the late 1940's, after the superior of St. Paul's College suggested to several students that they simplify their names for easier recognition in the ministry, he would change his name again to "Walter Anthony.") Since Wally had been baptized in the Byzantine rite, it was necessary to petition Roman authorities for permission to join the Latin rite Paulist Fathers. Wally had two younger sisters, one of whom became a nun.

Wally enlisted in the US Navy during World War II and then attended Michigan State College. Upon acceptance by the Paulists in 1949 and completion of the novitiate and course of studies at St. Paul's College, he was ordained a Catholic priest on May 3, 1956. He was in a class of 17, the largest in Paulist history.

At different periods Wally spent twenty-four years of his priesthood on the staff and mission band of Old St. Mary's parish in San Francisco. He transformed the parish center adding a religious bookstore, an extensive library, and "creative lunch breaks" for downtown workers. For their convenience Masses were offered in a large office building. Because of the ecumenical dimensions of the lunchtime programs, they were endorsed by various religious leaders and supported by major banks and business corporations.

Wally very successfully incorporated into his San Francisco apostolate a program he had previously developed. In 1967 he and a Redemptorist priest had been invited by the Bishop of London, Ontario, to implement the teachings of Vatican II through a diocesan-wide renew program. The project involved three phases—research, reflection, and response. It was later amplified by the Archdiocese of Baltimore and became a Paulist Press publication entitled "Gift—Growth in Faith Together."

From 1987 to 1992 Wally served on the staff of Santa Susanna's, the American parish in Rome. During summer vacations he would return to Cedar, Michigan, to help his sister's family harvest cherries from their orchards. Failing health forced him to seek senior ministry status, and he took up residence in Cedar to be near his sister. For twelve years he served as de facto pastor of a rural parish.

When he was unable to carry out even this limited ministry, in 2004 Father Anthony moved to Saint Paul the Apostle parish in New York City where he died two month later. He was 80 years old and had served for 48 years as a Paulist priest.

After the funeral Mass and burial at Oak Ridge, a memorial Mass was celebrated in Cedar. Father Sean Foley, CSP, reported: "The parish church in a small farming community in Cedar, Michigan was filled with 350 people who loved Fr. Wally Anthony. This is the parish where he regularly helped out until declining health led him to join the 59th St. community. The Bishop of Gaylord came to preside and preach at the parish which was administered by a permanent deacon. It was all quite moving. I can't get over the impact Wally made on so many people's lives."



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  • Created by: Paulist Archives
  • Added: 14 Aug 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 95340450
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rev Fr Walter “Wally” Anthony (8 Oct 1924–11 Dec 2004), Find A Grave Memorial no. 95340450, citing Saint Thomas the Apostle Cemetery, Oak Ridge, Passaic County, New Jersey, USA ; Maintained by Paulist Archives (contributor 47227615) .