An annual religious event celebrated by St. Anthony of Padua School on Sunday illustrates the role it has played since it opened in 1956 and its mission.
That focal event is the offering of the Mass at 10:30 a.m. which highlights the annual observance of Catholic Schools Week this year.
The significance of this part of the week-long celebration is encompassed in the theme this year: “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.”
“Catholic schools have an important mission given to them by the Lord. St. Anthony Parish School has been fulfilling its mission since 1956. We have an excellent academic program, and many enrichment activities, but we want to emphasize how our school is fulfilling its mission of passing on the ideals of faith, knowledge and service to each young person,” said Principal Mary Lou Hoffman speaking about the importance of Catholic education.
“It is very important to form the hearts and souls of children, to introduce them early and often to the love of God and to God’s truths. The children are the future of the church and the world. This is why we teach to the whole child. Our teachers – preschool to eighth grade – are dedicated to excellence in working with children in all areas especially knowing their faith. Knowledge is one of the keys to a happy and successful life.”
Through the decades, the parochial school has been in partnership with the community in a variety of ways including performing corporal works of mercy to various people in the community. At Christmas, for example, the students adopted 25 families as their way of sharing the blessings of Christmas. Additionally, they support St. Vincent de Paul Society with monthly donations of canned goods that are then distributed to the needy in the community.
They have been writing letters, as well, to seminarians and soldiers. And they have been wearing shirts in the color that identify different types of cancer in addition to donating money to each cause.
Sunday’s celebration of the Mass is part of the events concluding the week-long Catholic Schools Week observance. Following the Mass will be a school open house until 1 p.m.
St. Anthony’s School actually opened for business in 1952. However, the first to occupy the new classrooms were public-school students. The facilities were rented out to the school district while the parish waited for the arrival of the nuns who were to teach at the school.
Through the decades, St. Anthony’s expanded its programs including the launching of its preschool program.