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Bishop Blaire leading St. Anthonys centennial celebration
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There will be no 12:30 p.m. Spanish Mass on Sunday, Oct. 15, at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Manteca.
That is due to a high water mark observance in the history of the parish — the 100th year anniversary of its founding in Manteca.
The Mass at 10 a.m. celebrating this red-letter day will be led by none other than Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of the Diocese of Stockton. The liturgy will be bilingual, with the church’s combined choirs offering the worship music.
Immediately following the Mass will be a reception in the church’s gym. It will be largely a potluck luncheon event with various church groups, including the ministries of music, providing the dishes for everybody to share.
A program focusing on the historical highlights of the parish will be held during the luncheon. Presenting a slide show with historical commentaries will be longtime parishioner Gloryanna Rhodes, former mayor of Lathrop. Rhodes has been a member of St. Anthony of Padua long before the official founding of Lathrop’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.
A power point “history program in pictures” will be ongoing during the rest of the reception, said Debbie Rivas, a member of the centennial celebration planning committee.
Special mementos marking St. Anthony’s100th year anniversary will be available for purchase during and after Sunday’s celebration. The engraved wine glasses are available for $6 each, or two for $10. A crystal block is also available with a laser engraving of St. Anthony of Padua holding the Child Jesus is also offered for purchase. The four-inch heavy piece is $40 apiece.
These were offered for sale during the September harvest festival. They will be available for purchase also after Sunday in the church office during regular business hours, said harvest festival Lois Wiedenhoeft.
“We ordered a lot, so we should be okay,” said an optimistic Wiedenhoeft.
Rhodes said she’s looking forward to Sunday’s post-Mass celebration in the gym which will include entertainment.
“I have found my research to be not only a labor of love but a spiritual and historical journey,” she said.
“I’ve gotten to know all 21 pastors through the research, or personally, and I thank Father (Chad) Wahl for asking me to be a part of it.”
The only pall clouding the otherwise happy 100th birthday of the parish was the sudden demise of parochial vicar Father Jairo Ramirez. He passed away last Saturday evening while attending a dinner-dance fundraiser at St. Joseph’s Parish in Modesto where he collapsed and died due to a massive heart attack.
St. Anthony School will be closed on Monday when a Mass of Christian Burial will be held in the church for the priest who was widely beloved by parishioners, especially the member of the Hispanic community to whom he was especially close.