Earlier this month, one of the parishes the Province founded in South Carolina marked an historic milestone with special events and guests, including a bishop and a former pastor. A member of the mission advancement team provides details in this report.
GREENVILLE, S.C. — The weekend of Oct. 17 was one of great celebration for the parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. Families and friends, young and old, came together for a weekend of fellowship and faith with great joy in their hearts as they commemorated the 75th anniversary of their parish.
An extraordinary 75-year journey began in the fall of 1939, when a group of African-American families in the West End section of Greenville decided to form a Catholic community. That community of faith and love has flourished and, through the grace of God and the strength of these founding pillars, now embraces more than 1,200 families.
The weekend celebration began on Friday, Oct. 17 with a “Taste of St. Anthony,“ a celebration of the parish’s diversity. Everyone was encouraged to prepare their favorite dish and share in an evening of great food, music and dancing. The new school gym, open since just last year, was transformed for this occasion with special lighting, seating and a splendid buffet.
On Saturday evening, more than 250 people celebrated at the 75th Anniversary Banquet held in the new school building. Guests arrived to find hallways filled with old photos and great friends. Some traveled from far away to join in the celebration with their families. The many special guests included Bishop Robert L. Guglielmone of Charleston’ David Hyman, OFM, who served at St. Anthony’s for seven years, including four as pastor; Sr. Catherine Noecker, OSF; Deacon James Williams; and Patrick Tuttle, OFM, our current pastor. We were blessed and honored to have several of the founding parishioners and members of their families present for the occasion.
After a wonderful dinner, the evening continued with storytelling. Beautiful — and some humorous — memories of the last 75 years were shared. As the stories unfolded, so did the richness and beauty that live in St. Anthony’s Parish.
Sunday was a morning filled with festive Masses, each beginning with the hymn, “We Have Come This Far by Faith.” The St. Anthony Choir led the procession and the church was filled with song and prayer. It was wonderful to have both Fr. Patrick and Fr. David celebrating the special Masses.
After a morning of worship, parishioners gathered at Conestee Park for a picnic on a sunny South Carolina afternoon, complete with music, games, talking, laughter and a delicious meal. As the sun set on a beautiful weekend, hearts were filled with happiness and thanksgiving for this amazing journey of faith. Happy 75th anniversary, St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church!
— Susan Cinquemani is a member of the mission advancement team at St. Anthony of Padua School in Greenville, S.C.