It is with sadness to report that Rev. Anthony Borgia, twelfth pastor of Mansfield St. Peter’s Parish died unexpectedly, Saturday, December 15, 2018, at the age of 61 of an apparent heart attack. Fr. Tony was serving as the pastor of St. Patrick of Heatherdowns parish on the south side of Toledo.
Fr. Tony served as pastor at St. Peter’s from 2005 until 2011. During his time as pastor, he oversaw the development of Spartan Fields, the school athletic complex and began the Centennial celebration of St. Peter’s Church, with the 100th Anniversary of the Laying of the Cornerstone Ceremonies. Fr. Tony followed in the footsteps of Rev. Schmitz and rode to the 1911 dedication ceremony up Mulberry Street on a white horse.
During his tenure as pastor, he was known to roll up his sleeves as was very active in the parish community. He could be found before Christmas and Easter in the cafeteria rolling poticas or making cabbage rolls. He was also active in the parish’s prison ministry earning the title of “blue collar priest” from the inmates on death row. You could also find him in the school buildings always giving a high five or bending down to give a hug to the young students in the hallways. Fr. Tony wouldn’t even hesitate to pucker up to a parrot during the annual Blessing of Pets on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.
Current pastor, Very Rev. Gregory R. Hite remembered Fr. Tony as a good priest and the life of the party. “We were all saddened by his premature death, said Hite. “He was a good guy. He related well to many people.”
In 2009, Fr. Borgia celebrated his 25th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood while at St. Peter’s and the parish did its usual “low-key” celebration, complete with a Mass of Thanksgiving, reception, and program in the high school auditorium.
In an interview with the Mansfield News Journal, Fr. Tony said, “The many times the Lord has called me to celebrate reconciliation and baptisms, I am truly blessed. The many people’s lives that touched my life — and I was permitted to be part of their lives at special moments of their life and the life of their family.”
He recalled when he first started thinking and praying about the seminary and the possibility of the priesthood.
“I kept thinking I was not worthy. Today I still believe that I am not worthy by myself,” Borgia said. “Only with the help of God can I do I live out my calling to be a priest and servant.”
In that same News Journal article, Sister Bernard Marie Campbell said, “Father Tony is a warm an welcoming person. He just really loves people.”
In 2011, the parish celebrated Fr. Tony’s service to St. Peter’s with a reception at Spartan Fields, the athletic complex that Fr. Tony first signed documents to purchase when he first arrived in 2005. At that ceremony, he was given the honor of burning the mortgage after the debt on the facility had been paid off.
“Fr. Tony has touched the hearts of countless people, not just at St. Peter’s but in Mansfield,” Sister Bernard Marie said in 2011. “His personality, warm and welcoming, made him accessible. The children love him.”
Born in Norwalk, Ohio, he attended Norwalk St. Paul School. He attended college at St. Gregory’s in Cincinnati and theology studies at Mount St. Mary’s also in Cincinnati.
Fr. Borgia was ordained a deacon in 1983 and served at Findlay, St. Michael’s. In 1984, he was ordained a priest and assigned as associate pastor of St. Patrick of Heatherdowns. From 1986-1993 he was assigned to the Diocesan Youth Office holding different positions: Spiritual Director of Youth, Chaplin of Scouting, Associate Director of CYO, Director of Youth Ministry.
- 1993-2000 – Galion, St. Joseph
- 2000-2005 – Fort Jennings, St. Joseph and Ottoville, Immaculate Conception
- 2005 to 2011 – St. Peter’s, Mansfield;
- 2011 to 2015 – St. John Point Place and St. Michael.
- 2015 to 2018 – St. Patrick Heatherdowns
As memorial and Mass of Christian burial services are planned, we will update this article.
Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace. Amen.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.