Nine years ago in 2006, I was appointed pastor of Saint Anthony parish inheriting a relatively new church, an old historic church, several buildings and land but now in need of ongoing repair and maintenance. Over these years we have done our best to be good stewards of the buildings and properties, performing the necessary maintenance, repair and upkeep.
Over the past nine years your stewardship and the Cannon Fund enabled us to put a new roof on the little church. We received a donation in kind to install new concrete steps, keeping people safe with new metal handrails around the plaza and steps, including a paved driveway we did not previously have. Recently we installed LED lights for energy conservation inside and outside the little church.
At the big church we have replaced the canvas awning providing protection over the front doors which we will have to do again soon. In 2008 we repaired the exterior siding on the church and had the big church completely repainted. We refurbished the interior of the church with new paint, new carpet and repaired the leaking baptismal font with your stewardship generosity and a special fund request. We replaced the hollow core exterior doors with solid wood doors to improve safety. Soon we will replace the single paned windows in the offices for the secretary, pastor, and pastoral associate and Saint Joseph classroom with last year’s ADA rebate money. We also refurbished the outside fountain/pool because the tile adhesive failed which is an important water feature mirroring our baptismal font, and look forward to the day when the drought ends and we can fill it again. Anticipating a photovoltaic power panel system on the church roof next year we will re-roof the church with money set aside for that project from a generous donation.
We have made use of our land in a sustainable way, every fall a local farmer plants it and harvests nearly 2 tons of hay/oats for livestock and then the land is turned over in June to provide a fire safe environment through a donation. Many volunteers help to cut down the weeds as needed, help with the landscaped areas on the annual parish work day, and do so much more to keep up both churches.
We have launched the faith sharing groups, Lenten Longings and Arise, to bolster our individual and collective faith lives. The choirs keep tuning up their skills to lead us in prayerful music and song. Annual social events bring us together as a community to build this faith community. And you can continue to be ambassadors for this parish, welcoming new families and individuals as people discover Saint Anthony parish where we worship together, celebrating our faith in Christ. We are a family and families change over time, but the parish spirit continues with your mutual efforts.
After all this, I am grateful and humbled that the parish will tackle remodeling the 70 year old concrete block farmhouse for a rectory to maintain a pastor’s presence on the church property. I look forward to your participation in one of the five receptions or your request for a visit to hear about this project from one of the rectory committee members. May God bless you all for your support, your generosity, your stewardship to enhance, develop and help this faith community grow and thrive!
Father Larry Hendel