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About Our Parish

Humble Beginnings

As we begin, we would also like to note that the following pages are not a definitive history of our parish community of of Longview. It is more in the nature of a "refreshed memory"--that is, our memory of those important and interesting events passed on to us in conversation by the pioneers who still lived here in the early nineteen-fifties when we arrived in the scene. This account, then, begins as our recollection of that oral tradition, supported by the records and documents that they passed on to us. 

The city of Longview was founded in 1870, and has since progressed to an imposing industial center geopraphically located in the center of one of the world's largest oil fields. Sharing in this progress, the Catholic parish of Longview has planned and fulfilled each of many steps forward from its humble beginning as a mission in 1880 to become the solid, permanent Catholic parish that Longview knows today. The whole area was under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Galveston, and it was probable that the territory was visited by the missionaries from Nacogdoches. Longview became a part of the diocese of Dallas when that Diocese was formed in 1890. 

According to courthouse records, the land for the earliest church and for the present St. Anthony's Church was purchased from a Mr. J. C. Turner for $125. Masses during that time were said in alternate homes and locations whenever the priest came to this area. Construction of the first church, build in 1884, was an event of great joy for the small congregation.  small school was organized by the Catholic Community Sisters of the Incarnate Word from San Antonio and came to take charge of it. A school and convent were build, and it appeared that a bright future for the  parish was assured. This, however, was not the case. At that time the growth of the parish was very slow, and eventually the school closed and the nuns moved back to Austin. The school building was destroyed by fire; on a much more comprehensive scale, the Depression came to the country and to Longview.

Growing Through Change

In January, 1931, the discovery of oil brought hope and signs of recovery, bringinng prosperity and many new people thus increasing the amount of cathoilcs in the area. In April of 1934 a small frame structure was renovated and modernized but as the congregation grew a new building was planned and finished in 1940. In the middle 40's, Fr. Callahan purchased a site contiguous to the church property for a small school. It was completed on October of 1949 and staffed by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. A parishioner left all her earthly possessions to St. Anthony's Church in which included a property and became a convent for the sisters. 

With the continued growth of the parish, the facilities of St. Anthony's School became inadequate, and further expansion was required. in 1965 the good parishioners set a new goal. When the school was completed it needed a new name: St. Mary's. From that memorable dedication day, St. Mary's School begun to flourish. 

Ten years after the dedicatin of St. Mary's School it became evident that thoughts must be given to building another church. Its goal was to complete a new church during the centennial year celebrating the founding of St. Anthony's Church in 1880. St. Mary Church was finish by 1979.

In 1999, St. Matthew's Church was establish as a mission of St. Anthony's Church. This mission was a former Church of Christ sanctuary.  

Looking to the Future

St. Anthony Catholic Church has come from the last fifth of the nineteenth century, throught the twentieth century, and into the twenty-first century. As we continue on with life in the church we will use lessons learned, the problems solved, and our faith in God to guide us into the future. 

 

Excerpts taken from the St. Anthony's Centennial 1880-1980 book and 125 years of Saint Anthony Catholic Church 1880-2005.

 

 

 

Remembering the Past

Rebuilding for the Present

Planning for the Future

The next item in the agenda is St. Anthony’s project of re-purposing the old St. Anthony School. This project is going to help us with the revitalization and continued growth of our parish.  The St. Anthony Parish Center will become a central fixture of activity of parish life. The redesign will include parish offices, 4 classrooms, and a large “gathering space” for meetings, events, and social activities – plus restrooms that can be available during mass times.