St. Anthony of Padua is one of the Catholic Church’s most popular saints. Saint Anthony of Padua, patron saint of lost and stolen articles, was a powerful Franciscan preacher and teacher. He’s typically portrayed holding the child Jesus—or a lily—or a book—or all three—in his arms. Many people give alms to St. Anthony Bread (Works of Charity for the Poor) in thanksgiving to God for blessings received through the prayers of St. Anthony.
St. Anthony of Padua’s life is what every Christian’s life is meant to be; a steady courage to face the ups and downs of life, the call to love and forgive, to be concerned for the needs of others, to deal with crisis great and small, and to have our feet solidly on the ground of total trusting love and dependence on God. St Anthony is beloved throughout the world and is responsive to all people and all needs. His intercessory powers before our God are awesome.
Father Victor Gury stationed at Frelsburg was the first to minister to the people of Columbus around 1854. The first church structure was built in 1872 on land donated by the Tait family and named in honor of St. Matthias. Parish records indicate that father M. Orth arrived in the early 1870’s. At this early date a school was established and conducted by the Sisters of Providence.
From 1880-1906 the parish was served by priests from Weimar, St. Rochs, and even as far away as Seguin. From 1906-1929 several priests were in residence at the parish.
In 1929, a disastrous fire in the church caused it to be unusable. Mass was held in the old Baptist church on Washington St. The new church was blessed on May 6. 1930. As a condition of of a donation by the Catholic Church Extension Society, it was renamed in honor of St. Anthony. From 1930-1945 there was not a resident priest and the needs of the Catholic community were met by adjoining communities.
In 1945 Father V.J. Bily became the first resident priest of St. Anthony’s. A new rectory was built in 1948 and Father Alex Kraus became it’s first resident. Plans for St. Anthony Cemetery were finalized and the first burials were in 1950. During this time, a new school building and K.C. Hall were constructed. The convent building was blessed in 1957. In 1958, the present church building being inadequate for the needs of the congregation, a building committee was formed. The Dedication and Blessing were held on May 6, 1961.
No history of the church would be complete without recognizing the people of the parish who often put the needs of the church above their own. Whether serving the parish with labor, fundraising, or evangelization, parish members have always served their community.
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