Bonner High’s 70th Anniversary | From the Desk of Fr. Rob

September 8, 2023

Dear friend of the Augustinians,
Seventy years ago tomorrow, on September 9, 1953, Archbishop Prendergast High School for Boys welcomed its first students. From that day until June 2009, the Augustinian Friars of the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova provided inspiration (and the mascot) for what is now Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School.
During those 56 years, more than 150 Augustinian Friars served as administrators, teachers, counselors, chaplains, moderators of activities and athletic teams, and friends and confidants to numerous students, faculty, and staff at the school. Additionally, a great many Augustinian vocations were realized at Bonner. In one way or another, they touched the lives of the more than 20,000 graduates during that period.
The Augustinians provided a special flavor to the educational experience of Bonner students. Although not always named, a true sense of community was deeply ingrained in the fabric of Bonner by the Augustinians who shared their life in common while living and praying together in the monastery located on the campus. The friars translated the fraternal spirit of their religious life into their ministry at the school, resulting in a sense of family, brotherhood and a true concern for others.
Fr. Ed Dixey, O.S.A. (who passed away last week) could single-handedly control a lunchroom of 600 hungry boys as easily as he could play a pick-up game of basketball with them after school. Fr. John Melton, O.S.A. was regularly available in his office late into the evening to help a senior decide on (or get into) college. Fr. Al Smith, O.S.A. made it enjoyable (as well as spiritually beneficial) for members of the Bonner Breakfast Club to serve Mass at 6:30 a.m. in the monastery. Fr. Bill Atkinson, O.S.A. could turn a Saturday detention into a personal growth experience.
Bonner-Prendie will be celebrating this milestone anniversary all year long – including an event tomorrow, on the official 70th anniversary. Join alums, staff, students, and friends out on the field from noon until 4:00 PM for food trucks, a photo booth and more – but be sure not to miss the celebration of Mass at 4:00 PM. Many Augustinians will concelebrate and Fr. Joe Mostardi, O.S.A. will preside. (You can find the rest of the year’s events here.)
Know that the school, its students, alumni, and staff remain in the prayers of the Augustinian Friars. We are so pleased to celebrate this milestone with you.
Peace always,
Fr. Robert P. Hagan, O.S.A.
Prior Provincial