St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Manteca is the spiritual home of thousands of members who represent a cross section of the area’s cultural mix.
Nowhere was that more apparent than in the recently concluded six-season ARISE, a prayer movement in the Catholic church worldwide aimed at renewing the faith life not only of individual members of the faithful but that of the church as a whole. At St. Anthony of Padua in Manteca, ARISE prayer and fellowship groups that were formed included the Portuguese community (Portuguese Festa of the Holy Spirit group), the Filipino community (Filipino Santo Nino group), and the Hispanic community (Our Lady of Guadalupe group).
That spirit of renewal is being celebrated next week when the church holds its 1st Annual St. Anthony of Padua Parish Mission Tuesday through Thursday, Jan. 22-24, starting at 7 p.m. in the church.
“We’re excited about it. We think it’s going to be a wonderful thing for the parish. This is a response – and a culmination, if you will – for the six seasons of ARISE which ended this past November,” said Father Patrick Walker, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church. “It’s a beautiful way to celebrate our oneness in the Body of Christ, which is the theme of this year.”
The three-day event, which is spearheaded by the Parish Committee under the director of parishioner Dave Corder, has put together “an inspiring program” for each of the three days of the mission, Father Walker said, explaining the focus of each gathering:
• Tuesday, Jan. 22 – “We will celebrate God’s incredible love for us revealed in the Sacrament of Baptism.”
• Wednesday, Jan. 23 – “We will be reminded that we are the Good News of Jesus in the world today. We will celebrate and encourage participation in the various ministries and organizations of St. Anthony’s Parish.”
• Thursday, Jan. 24 – “We will celebrate our oneness in the Body of Christ. We will especially celebrate the different cultures in our parish – the Portuguese Festa, the Filipino Santo Nino, and Our Lady of Guadalupe – to draw all these celebrations together to show we’re one body united in Jesus Christ.”
Also, on the third day of the mission, there will be a concelebrated Mass offered by Father Walker along with the associate vicars of St. Anthony’s – Father Dante Dammay and Father Camilo Garcia – at the conclusion of the evening’s mission.
Each of the evenings of prayers, music, testimony, and friendship will provide opportunities to “listen to the Word of God proclaimed, hear personal testimony, pray together, and enjoy friendship and food.”
There will be refreshments shared, as well as personal sharing time, after each evening program to be held either in the church cafeteria or in the rec hall.
At the conclusion of the third-day event, those in attendance will be having a celebration and a special time together enjoying various ethnic foods from the different cultural groups of the parish. Groups and individuals will be bringing their own special food “to show that we’re one body,” Father Walker said.
The ARISE movement that concluded in November at St. Anthony’s was such a success that “a few groups” are still continuing to meet – “at least two or three that I know of,” he said.
St. Anthony of Padua Church is located at 505 E. North Street, corner of Fremont Avenue, in Manteca, telephone (209) 823-7197.