27 August 1929 – 12 March 2000

By Wayne Blackman

arch-anthony-pantinThe continuation of a brief history of Fatima should have begun with the arrival to Fatima of then Father Anthony Pantin, and his activities and contribution to the school. A little research indicated Archbishop Pantin died in 2000 and our first Newsletter was published in 2008. Given this remarkable and memorable figure was a part of Fatima’s history and growth and the name Pantin being so synonymous with Fatima college we thought it prudent to produce a full piece ………

Anthony Gordon Pantin was born in Port of Spain in August 27, 1929, the second son of Julian Andrew Pantin, a business executive and his wife Agnes, nee Mazeley.

He received his primary education at Sacred Heart School and Belmont Intermediate School (now the Belmont Boys’ Secondary RC School).  From the latter he won a Government Scholarship, (called a Government Exhibition in those days) to St Mary’s College.  Also among the group of Exhibition winners from that school was Ellis Clarke who would become first President of independent Trinidad and Tobago.

His elder brother, Fr Gerald “Gerry” Pantin once observed that “Tony” wanted to be a priest from the time he was seven years old.  He had been an acolyte at St Patrick’s Church from an early age.

At St Mary’s, Anthony Pantin was in the top academic stream and although considered a strong contender for the open island scholarship, the young Pantin decided to enter the priesthood at age 17 and was anxious to begin his priestly studies. He spent a short time teaching at St Mary’s College before embarking for Canada.

Archbishop Pantin entered the novitiate of the Holy Ghost Congregation in Canada in 1946 and attended the University of Montreal, graduating with his BA degree.  He returned to Trinidad in 1949 for a further three-year teaching stint at St Mary’s College. In 1952 he left for Dublin, Ireland, where he pursued studies in Theology.  He was ordained priest on the 3rd July, 1955 and was sent to Guadeloupe as a missionary priest until 1959.

He returned to Trinidad in 1959 at which point he came to Fatima and was appointed Dean of the lower forms in 1960. He remained at Fatima until 1964, contributing immensely to the spiritual, social and academic, atmosphere of the school. He formed a Fatima Club, catering specifically to those students not involved in other activities. They organized a choir, sports meeting, and social gatherings. His Grace was also deeply involved in the Legion of Mary. Until his death, he kept a close association with Fatima.

In 1965 he returned to St Mary’s College where he was elected to the post of Religious Superior, where he served until 1967. In November of that year, he was requested to accept responsibilities as head of the Archdiocese of Port of Spain, a post which was left vacant by the resignation of the legendary Count Finbar Ryan.  Father Pantin’s Episcopal consecration took place on March 19, 1968.

As Archbishop he took the motto, “All things to all men” which would today be translated, “All things to all people”.  During his 32 years as Archbishop, he made strenuous efforts to fulfill the expectations of that motto. He was especially concerned with enriching the lives of the disadvantaged and underprivileged.  He founded the Mary Care Centre to provide a home for pregnant unmarried teenagers. He is remembered as a mediator in the troubled times of both the Black Power crisis and the attempted 1990 coup. He was instrumental in forming the Inter-Religious Organization and took an active role in that group.  He also took an active role in the activities of the Antilles Episcopal Conference, the association of Caribbean Bishops.

He died on Sunday, March 12th, 2000 where upon followed a Pontifical Mass presided over by the Papal Pro-Nuncio Archbishop Eugenio Sbarbaro DD at the Cathedral of The Immaculate Conception. Archbishop Anthony Gordon Pantin is entombed in the Cathedral crypt below the sacristy to the southwestern end of the altar.