Monsignor Pavis is greeted by Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Terence Cooke during the Pope’s visit to New York in 1979.
This flower arrangement was sent by our parish to the wake for Monsignor Pavis.
The note attached to the flowers reads: “In gratitude to God for your years of service as our Pastor.” Father Christopher Monturo, Father Peter Scaramuzzo and all of the staff and people of Saint Anthony of Padua, West Harrison, New York.
The following tribute was posted on the website for the Staten Island Advance. I include it here for the benefit of all. I look forward to the Memorial Mass we will celebrate here at Saint Anthony’s in the near future and I hope many parishioners will be able to attend.
Monsignor Victor Pavis, 95, cherished in the memory of many as an inspirational high school teacher, principal, coach and a former administrator at the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin, Mount Loretto, died Saturday in Our Lady of Consolation residence for retired priests in the Bronx.
Three weeks ago, Monsignor Pavis was the first of eight people inducted into the inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame at Cardinal Hayes High School, the Bronx, where he began his teaching career and later served as principal. Though illness prevented him from attending the ceremony, his nephew, Matthew Pavis, accepted the award on his uncle’s behalf.
The oldest of six children born to Victor and Blanche Pavis, he moved with his family to Great Kills from Greenwich Village in 1923, when he was 5 years old. By the time he reached the eighth grade, he — and everyone around him — knew he was headed for the priesthood, family recalled.
He graduated from St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, N.Y., and was ordained a priest on May 1, 1943.
He left Staten Island for nine years when assigned to Cardinal Hayes High School, where he taught Latin and senior religion, was moderator of the cheerleading squad, coached junior varsity baseball and founded the St. Martin de Porres Club, the first African American club at the high school.
In 1952, he became director of senior boys at Mount Loretto, where he was affectionately known as “Father Vic” in the local community. He organized sports programs to boost the orphaned boys’ pride and got them into local leagues, taking on the role of a parental figure as well as a role model.
“We were father, mother, aunt and uncle,” he told the Advance in 2005. “We ate with the kids and lived in the dorms with the kids. It was a wonderful experience because we were all so close to the kids.” He said at the time that he continued to receive Father’s Day cards from many of the children.
After a turn as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Pelham Manor, N.Y., he returned to the Island as a faculty member at the recently opened Monsignor Farrell High School, Oakwood, where he stayed until returning to Cardinal Hayes as its principal.
He later served as pastor of Holy Rosary R.C. Church, Manhattan; St. Benedict’s R.C. Church, the Bronx, and St. Anthony’s R.C. Church, East White Plains, N.Y. He had been semi-retired since 2003, serving as assistant to the guidance counselor at Cardinal Hayes, where the library is named for him.
He was not the only member of his family to enter the priesthood. His brother, the late Gerard, was a Maryknoll missionary priest, assigned to Africa for 15 years.
Monsignor Pavis was a talented athlete, and was once one of the finest competitive golfers on Staten Island. In 1955, he finished second in the Staten Island amateur championship. He was also a skilled baseball player and for a time practiced hockey with the New York Rangers.
But he is best known for the enthusiasm and compassion he showed young students, many of whom returned to Cardinal Hayes sharing tales of his tutelage, and noting that he kept them going under difficult circumstances.
“He was a household name on Staten Island,” said his nephew. “Everybody knew him. He helped more people than anyone I ever knew.”
Monsignor Pavis had been in good spirits, despite his recent failing health, his family said.
“He was always in a good mood when Steven, my twin brother, and I visited him,” said his nephew, Matthew. “He was surrounded by great health aides who loved him and pampered him.” Monsignor Pavis was particularly grateful to Mary Lynch, who managed his care for several years.
In 2009, he was honored by his family at a major celebration in honor of his 90th birthday.
He is survived by his brother, James Pavis.
The funeral will be Wednesday from the Riverdale on Hudson Funeral Home, with a mass at 10 a.m. in St. Margaret of Cortona R.C. Church, both the Bronx. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Grasmere.