By Jerry Wells
Saint Anthony Catholic Church celebrated the 25th anniversary of the dedication of its church building on McKean Road in Almaden Valley on the morning of September 29. The “Big Church”, as its parishioners call it, joined the existing historic mining church building in New Almaden as part of Saint Anthony Parish upon its completion in 1994.
Bishop Oscar Cantú helped parishioners celebrate the event by presiding over Sunday Mass and he was joined by three of the four priests who have called Saint Anthony home since the beautiful rural church opened its doors. Included were the present pastor, Father Larry Hendel, and the second and third pastors, Father Bob Hayes and Father George Mancha. The church was full for the occasion, and all of the Saint Anthony choirs combined for the event, filling the church with song before, during and after the Mass.
Saint Anthony Parish has the distinction of being the only parish in the Diocese of San Jose with two church locations and the only one with regular outdoor services in the summer, under a 200 year old oak tree.
This was Bishop Cantú’s first visit to the parish, and the assembly continued the celebration after Mass with delectable pastries, punch and sparkling beverages, giving all the opportunity to meet the Bishop one-on-one and to welcome their old pastors back.