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St. Anthony Church

4 Union City Rd – Prospect, CT

History of St. Anthony Church / Our Patron Saint

St. Anthony Parish in Prospect grew from simple beginnings. In May 1936, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Canales hosted a meeting at their Salem Road home for 28 Catholics. Their findings persuaded Bishop Maurice F. McAuliffe to designate Prospect as a mission of St. Mary’s. On July 19, 1936, Father Morrissey celebrated the first mission Mass at the local Grange Hall. By the spring of 1937, Mass was moved to the basement of the Prospect Community School. In the fall, construction began on St. Anthony Chapel on property located on Route 69. Completed by 1938, the chapel was dedicated on September 16, 1939. They chose the name St. Anthony because a local family donated the land for church on June 13, the feast of St. Anthony.

In June 1943, the next phase of St. Anthony’s growth proceeded as the mission became a parish with Father John F. McTeague appointed first pastor. The parish was given its own mission in Bethany. On August 22, 1943, Father McTeague offered the first mission Mass at the State Police Academy.

By now, St. Anthony’s numbered about 700 families, a seven-fold increase from its early days. Accordingly, ground was broken for a new church and rectory on May 20, 1961, by Auxiliary Bishop John F. Hackett. The church as we now know it was dedicated on October 20, 1962, by Monsignor Joseph R. Lacy, Chancellor of the Archdiocese.

The books below contain more in-depth information regarding the history of the parish as well as some wonderful photographs.

 

 

 

Download the Album:

1992 Family Album.pdf (27 downloads)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download the Album

  50th Anniversary 1993.pdf (19 downloads)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download the Album:

2005 Family Album.pdf (28 downloads)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Patron Saint  

Saint Anthony of Padua was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1195 A.D., and named Fernando de Bulhoes. He is one of the most beloved Catholic saints today, and he was much loved even in his own time. St. Anthony was known to have a winning smile, a loud voice and a prodigious memory. His fervent faith must have been apparent from a young age, for by fifteen, he had entered the Augustinian Abbey of St. Vincent at Lisbon against his wealthy family’s wishes. In 1220, Don Pedro of Portugal brought the relics of Franciscans who had been martyred to Coimbra. This had a tremendous effect on Anthony, who requested admission to the Franciscans. In 1221, he was accepted and took the name Anthony, after St. Anthony the Great.

A gifted preacher, Anthony was also called upon to teach theology to his fellow Franciscans. He was the first member of the Franciscans to be so honored. Anthony drew large crowds wherever he went in Italy, but his greatest success was in Padua where the entire city flocked to hear his word and welcomed him as another St. Francis. Saint Anthony greatly desired to follow in the footsteps of the five Franciscans who had so affected him, and preach in Morocco, but ill health forced him to return soon after his arrival there. However, his homebound ship was never to reach Spain; a storm forced it to land instead on the coast of Italy. Franciscans there had pity on the ailing Anthony and assigned him to the rural hospice of San Paolo outside of Bologna. In that location, St. Anthony lived as a hermit and worked in the kitchen. St. Anthony also wrote, among other things, his famous sermons on the saints.

After the death of Francis, Anthony became the minister provincial of Emilia or Romagna. In 1226, he was elected as the envoy from the general chapter to Pope Gregory IX. Soon after, he was released from this duty so he could continue his preaching. He returned to Padua, where he preached until his death. Anthony died on June 13, 1231, at the age of thirty-six. Legend has it that children cried and angels rang bells when St. Anthony died. His body was buried in a chapel, which is now enclosed by the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua.