Long Beach History
Long Beach came into existence in 1887 when Misters Pomeroy and Mills, representing the Long Beach Land and Water Company, recorded the official map of present day Long Beach. In 1890 the population, according to the Federal census, was only 564 persons. In 1891 the Terminal Railway was completed connecting Los Angeles with East San Pedro via Long Beach. By 1910 there were 18,000 people and by 1920 the population had climbed to 55,000. The natural surroundings and climate of the beach city made it a favorite summer resort for those living in the Southwest and the Mid-West.
Opening Day of the first Pine Avenue Pier.
The first pier at the foot of Pine Avenue was a single deck structure with wooden piling. It was the first municipal pier built in California. Opening day, May 27, 1893, was celebrated with speeches and a big barbecue. The Southern Pacific Railroad ran a midnight train to Los Angeles for the benefit of visitors from surrounding areas.
Various amusement centers began to spring up along the beach. In 1907 a roller coaster was built in the area named “The Pike”. This was replaced over the years by bigger and faster roller coasters that operated until 1968. Mr. Charles Loeff, famous for his hand-carved carousel horses, built the Hippodrome Building on the beach to house his merry-go-round.
The Early Years – 1900 – 1922
In 1900, Right Reverend George Montgomery, D.D. was the first American Bishop of Monterey and Los Angeles, an area of 90,000 square miles which included 98 priests, 42 churches with priests, 35 Mission stations, and 19 parish schools serving about 59,000 Catholics.
At a civic event on Aug 22, 1900, Bishop Montgomery stressed the need for a Catholic church in Long Beach. As reported in the Tidings newspaper, he pointed out that Catholics were reluctant to patronize a resort where there was not easy access to a Catholic church. He suggested that someone donate a site, promising that if this were done he would see that a suitable edifice would soon be constructed.
In 1901 there were about six Catholic families in the neighborhood of Long Beach. In order to attend Mass it was necessary for them to ride by horse and buggy to Saints Peter and Paul Church, which was established in 1865, in Wilmington. Miss Della Malone placed an article in the Press-Telegram newspaper on September 12, 1902 offering to transport anyone who would like to attend Mass and to teach a Sunday school class for Catholic children.
Early in the summer of 1902, Mrs. J. M. Morris, a socially prominent resident of Long Beach, was walking on the beach when she overheard a conversation between two men. They were discussing the rapid growth of Long Beach and the fact that almost all religious denominations were represented in the city except the Catholic church. They went on to declare that they would see to it that Catholicism never got a foothold in Long Beach, even if that meant placing obstacles in the way of purchasing land. Though she was not a practicing Catholic at the time, Mrs. Morris was very angry about what she had heard. She told the men that before the year was up there would be a Roman Catholic church in the city.
Mrs. Morris was a woman of action despite being 70 years old at the time. With the support of her husband, Captain James Morris, who was a Protestant, she placed a notice in the Press-Telegram on June 24, 1902, inviting all Roman Catholics of Long Beach to a meeting at the home of Mrs. John Ena. An account of the meeting appeared in the Press-Telegram the following Friday reporting that a permanent organization had been formed, 2 acres of land had been donated by F. E. Shaw, and over $1000 had been pledged. Bishop Montgomery was invited to a subsequent meeting of the group and suggested that the land donated by Mr. Shaw be traded in return for land closer to the heart of the city. This was done and the property at the corner of Sixth and Olive was received. Judge Wall and Captain Morris purchased the adjoining lots to allow for expansion. On September 16, 1902, ground was broken and the foundation completed by September 30th. Bishop Montgomery attended the laying of the cornerstone on October 19 assisted by Father Ferrer who would be the first pastor. The cost of building the church was approximately $3,500. The men of the parish were building the church in addition to tending their farm work or businesses. Furnishings, an organ, and a beautiful onyx credence table were donated.
Mr. Thomas Wall was among the Catholics in the area who had to drive his family 7 miles across dusty fields to Wilmington to attend Mass. It was with great pleasure the family heard that a Catholic Church was to be built in Long Beach. When a meeting to organize the new parish was called, Mr. Wall attended and offered his services. He was a charter member of the Knights of Columbus in Long Beach and a member of the Newman Club. Three of his sons were ordained to the priesthood.
Miss Della Malone solicited funds for the building of the first church and was one of the first Sunday school teachers when Saint Anthony parish was finally established. Her brother, Joseph Malone, made a gift of the side altar together with the statue of Saint Joseph.
Mr. and Mrs. John Joseph Leuer were among the earliest settlers in Long Beach. They came in 1896 and purchased a twenty-acre farm. The Leuers had a large family of six sons and two daughters. Mr. Leuer served as Justice of the Oeace and a school trustee in the early days of Long Beach. They were among the builders of the first Saint Anthony Church in 1903. The family remained in the area as the children grew up and married. Anthony Arnold Leuer married Mary Margaret Amsden and lived at 1021 Sixth Street raising three children and sending them through Saint Anthony schools. Their son, Anthony, became a priest and was elevated to Monsignor. He served in many parishes in the Los Angeles area and was the spiritual director of Saint John’s Seminary College in Camarillo. He was serving as chaplain at Marymount College prior to his death in September 2003.
Msgr. Anthony Leuer
Founders of Saint Anthony Parish
|Top: Captain and Mrs. John M. Morris
Center: Mr. James Moore, Miss Della Malone, Mr. Thomas Wall
Bottom: Mrs. And Mr. John Joseph Leuer
The First Saint Anthony Church
The newly assigned Bishop Conaty, who succeeded Bishop Montgomery, celebrated the first Mass on July 19, 1903. The church was a modest one, with a seating capacity of about 200. An organ loft extended part way over the church accommodating 50 more.
Bishop Conaty had intended to send a priest every two weeks from Los Angeles to celebrate Mass and administer the Sacraments, but when he saw the size of the congregation at the dedication, he decided they needed a Mass every Sunday. Father Ramon Ferrer was assigned parish priest of Compton and Long Beach and traveled that distance every Sunday by streetcar until Jan. 1904 when the parishioners built the first Rectory. Fr. Ferrer was often delayed reaching Long Beach in time for Mass due to needs at Our Lady of Victory Church in Compton. This caused many Catholics at Saint Anthony to miss Mass which led to complaints to the Bishop.
Father Ramon Ferrer
The First Rectory
The prominent Catholics of the parish requested the Bishop give them a residentpastor who could devote all of his time and attention to Saint Anthony parish. The Bishop agreed and sent Fr. James Reardon in April 1907.
Father James Reardon
Father Reardon was faced with two problems; the need for a larger church because the congregation had outgrown the small wooden church and the need for aschool, which was being requested by many families. He decided to build a small school first and asked the parishioners for pledges. It was his dream to establish a school where every child could receive a Catholic education, regardless of the financial ability of the parents. There would be no tuition and pledges would guarantee the necessary support.
First Saint Anthony School
He engaged a parishioner, who was a contractor, to build a small building at the rear of the church, facing Olive Avenue. The first Catholic school in Long Beach opened in September 1907 with an enrollment of 40 students up to and including the ninth grade. Fr. Reardon soon had to convert his stable to house the first and second grades due to an increasing enrollment. Unfortunately, many people did not keep their pledges and the school was forced to close in 1909. The building was then used for meetings of the various church organizations and Sunday School classes.
The need for a larger church was evident to meet the demands of an ever–increasing congregation. Fr. Reardon had his rectory moved to Lime Avenue to make room for the new church. Plans were drawn up and the cornerstone was laid on October 24, 1913. The original church was moved to the back of the property and later to 1804 Cerritos Avenue where it served as a Mexican mission. The new church was Tudor Gothic design, made of red brick with twin towers topped with crosses, and had a statue of Saint Anthony over the entrance.
The Second Saint Anthony Church
The interior, with a seating capacity of 600, had stained glass windows, and an altar of Carrera marble, weighing thirty tons, which was made in Italy. The two side altars were of the same marble. The church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1914.
Father Reardon went on to build a second rectory. In 1916, he saw the fulfillment of his dream of a parochial school. Four sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary came to Long Beach at his request. He turned the rectory into a convent for them and moved into a section of the old church. He later started the building of a third rectory.
The second Saint Anthony School was a frame building of six rooms, built at the back of the church, facing north on Sixth Street It was dedicated on September 29, 1919 and opened with an enrollment of 125 students, ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade.
Second Saint Anthony School
Sister Gabriel I.H.M. was the first principal. The Sisters worked under difficult circumstances, teaching two grades each and living on a salary of $30 a month. Father Reardon had the joy of presenting diplomas to 12 students in June 1920. Sister Gabriel IHM
Most of these students remained to form the nucleus of the high school department, which began in September 1920 in a second story addition erected that summer. Students from other schools transferred in and the first High School graduation took place in June of 1923 with 2 seniors graduating and 29 students promoted from the eighth grade.
First Eighth Grade Graduation, 1920
Father Reardon was transferred in February 1922 to Oxnard where he died suddenly in March 1923. He had witnessed the growth of Saint Anthony from 250 communicants to over 2000 at his departure. The schedule had grown from two Masses each Sunday to six. This increase was necessary even though Saint Matthew Church at Temple Avenue and Seventh Street opened in 1920.
The First High School Graduation, 1923
|Loretta Berner was a fifth grade student who started at Street Anthony in 1919. She continued on to graduate with the first 4-year class from Street Anthony High School in 1927. She was active with the Alumni for many years and wrote the history of the parish and schools for the 50th Anniversary of the High School in 1977. Ms. Berner is also a charter member of the Long Beach Historical Society.
The Growing Years – 1922-1935
Rev. John Hegarty succeeded Father Reardon, and, like him, contributed much to the growth of Saint Anthony. This included the completion of the third rectory.
Fr. John Hegarty Third Parish Rectory
In early 1922, in spite of low school enrollment, Sister Gabriel had the courage to seek accreditation of Saint Anthony High School. After a visit in May by the chairman of the Examining Board, during which the work of the teachers and pupils was thoroughly examined, Saint Anthony was placed on the accredited list where it has remained ever since.
The enrollment grew steadily and the need for better accommodations was apparent. Space was a problem as the church, the rectory, the school, the Sisters’ convent, and playgrounds were all crowded together in the quarter block at Sixth and Olive. Fr. Hegarty appointed a Building and Advisory Committee of parishioners and secured Bishop Cantwell’s permission for his program. The remainder of the block was residential property, which was acquired through an intermediary for the sum of $60,000.
In the summer of 1922, Fr. Hegarty had the convent moved across Sixth Street to have it closer to the proposed site of the new school and to make room for the present rectory. Pledges were made and City Council gave permission to close the alley to enable a school to be built on Olive between Sixth and Seventh Streets. The three-story building would include a roof-playground and a basement for clubroom and parish activities.
It was decided to use most of the new building for a grade school and add a one-story building for the high school. The project was completed at the cost of $100,000 and dedicated on May 22, 1927.
Third Grade School
First High School
The Berberet family lived and worked in Saint Anthony Parish from 1917 to 1963 at 1121 Lime Avenue, raising 5 children in Saint Anthony. Both parents were very active in parish organizations and fund raising for the schools and church.
One of their daughters, Ethel Berberet Taylor, recalls going to school in the old two-story building on Sixth Street behind the church. The school was next to the alley and boys were known to climb out the windows and take the day off.
Mother Redempta, the Principal, was always on the lookout for troublemakers, however, and would summon them out of class into the hall where she would remove her belt and deal with any misdeeds on the spot. Ethel remembered knocking on the back door of the rectory when she was 9 years old to ask Father Hegarty if he would give the students a day off and he would agree.
Mother Redempta IHM
Among the many memorable Sisters who taught hem, the Berberets remembered three who were actually sisters from the same family, Sisters Eileen, Enda, and Michael. The sisters led them in prayer when the Angelus bells were rung at noon each day. Sister Virginia, Sr. Michael, Ethel and Oliver Taylor, Sr. Enda, Sr. Eileen.
When the three-story school was completed, it became the center of many activities. The Berberets remembered hot lunches were served daily in the basement and the Sisters would play tennis on the roof with students after school. The Bridge Club met in the basement and Friday night dances with live bands and parent chaperones were held there weekly.
Ethel and her brothers, Lou, Don, Bob, and Bernice, recalled many trips to the snow in the mountains in open-air trucks, passing through orange groves when the smudge pots were burning and getting their faces blackened with the soot. Bob remembered taking trips in moving vans when the students sat on the floor and wrapped the quilted padding around them to keep warm. He was chosen by Monsignor Dolan to drive him to various places.
Lou’s talent in baseball led Saint Anthony High School to many championships and later to a position on the New York Yankees. He died in April 2004 and the funeral Mass was said at Saint Anthony church. Ethel Berberet still lives in Long Beach and Bob in Lakewood. Both are strong supporters of the High School and keep in close contact with friends from their school days
Increases in the number of Catholics in the city brought about the opening of Holy Innocents Church at Twentieth Street and Atlantic Avenue and the formation of a new parish, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, using the old Saint Anthony Church building at 1800 Cerritos Avenue in 1923. In 1926, Saint Athanasius Church was opened on Linden Avenue and Market Street in North Long Beach.
Father Hegarty was transferred on April 29, 1929 to be the pastor of Saint Joseph Church in San Diego and to assume the deanship of that city and the Imperial Valley.
Rev. Robert E. Lucey replaced Fr. Hegarty. It was during Father Lucey’s pastorate that the devastating earthquake occurred on Mar. 10, 1933.
The Sisters in their convent were startled when their Benediction service was thrown into a turmoil as the Monstrance fell to the floor. They fled for their lives Fr. Robert Lucey while plaster pelted them from every direction. direction. The convent had been shaken off its foundation. Sister Mary Ruth Kent, who was in her first year of teaching at Saint Anthony remembers the Sisters spending the night in the Catholic Charities building next door as the second floor back wall of their sleeping area had fallen out. She felt a friendlier attitude from the Long Beach residents who had previously not been very receptive to Catholics. Sister Ruth returned to Saint Anthony for 2 more teaching assignments Sister Ruth Kent over time and was living in the Immaculate Heart Mother House in Los Angeles. She was able to join the Saint Anthony Parish Community to celebrate the opening of the Centennial year. Sister Ruth died in April 2004.
Father Lucey directed his assistants, the Sisters, and volunteers from the Catholic Welfare building to serve at the Armory where food, bedding, and clothing were provided to those in need.
The priests’ house had been shaken until the front porch gave way and fell from the front of the structure. The elementary school was completely wrecked and the small one story high school building was used for double sessions. Sister Ruth taught first grade students in the chemistry lab every afternoon. The greatest damage, however, was seen in the church, which crumbled as its mighty towers fell. The beautiful imported Carrara marble altar crashed into a million pieces and fell through the floor into the basement. The new organ was smashed and fell from the loft to the floor. The damage was estimated at one half million dollars. The great marble altar was dismantled and the stained glass windows removed. The church itself would have to be torn down.
It was decided to erect a tent in the schoolyard with a seating capacity of 600 to hold church services at regular hours on Sunday. During the week, the tent would be used for school classes. The men of the parish had succeeded in saving all the furniture of the wrecked church and the pews, which would be used in the tent.
Another severe tremor struck on October 2nd, which wrenched the southwest walls of the high school building from a portion of the roof, and the building had to be condemned. Some classes continued in the tent, some were on double session, and children were crowded into every available space even while the building was under construction. An examiner from the University of California visited the school and agreed with the sisters’ arrangement for double sessions. He praised their courage to carry on despite the ruin about them. Later that year the sisters’ work was rewarded with a highly favorable scholastic report from the University, which ranked Saint Anthony third among the private schools on the accredited list.
The repair of the grade school cost $26,000. The brick facing had been torn off; the north end had buckled; the plaster was falling from the walls and ceiling; and the windows and doors had been damaged. It was necessary to support the building by thick walls of reinforced concrete and concrete pillars both inside and out. The building was completed in the fall and rededicated on October 29, 1933.
In addition to the calamity of the earthquake, this was the year that the Great Depression struck bottom. However, Father Lucey and his devoted parishioners were determined to rebuild a new church on the ruins of the old one.
Third Saint Anthony Church
The cornerstone for the third church was laid on December 10, 1933, nine months after the earthquake struck. It was built of rigid steel frame with steel studs, a tile roof, and granite walls. It had a seating capacity of 750. The altars and windows of the old church were able to be used in the reconstruction.
Fr. Lucey had to ask those who had taken pieces of the marble altar as souvenirs to return them so they could be used in the reconstruction. The new Church was dedicated on February 4, 1934.
Saint Mary’s Long Beach Hospital, which had been purchased by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in 1925, was also severely damaged in the earthquake and could no longer be used. Sister Alphonsus Tallon was 18 and working at the hospital when the earthquake hit. She thought they would all die but they survived to care for the many victims. The Sisters erected a small one-story hospital Sister Alphonsus Tallon
which was used for four years. The need for more space was pressing and ground was broken for the present hospital in 1936. It was dedicated by Archbishop Cantwell on July 18, 1937. Sister Alphonsus continued to work at Saint Mary’s Hospital, with a three-year leave in 1934 to complete her vows and nurses training in Houston, until she retired at age 94 and returned to Houston. Sister Alphonsus died in February 2004.
Mary Monica Weir’s family came to Saint Anthony Parish in 1932 when She entered the elementary school and had Sister Edmund for her seventh grade teacher. She remembers well the devastation caused by the earthquake and how the parishioners worked together to continue services in makeshift quarters.
Sister Mary Beata
Mary graduated from Saint Anthony High School in 1937 and entered the convent of the Immaculate Heart Sisters. That graduating class had 18 students who entered the religious life. Mary became Sister Mary Beata and worked in several local parishes. She came back to teach at Saint Anthony High School from 1949 to 1955. She was then sent to other areas but returned to serve as vice principal of Saint Anthony in 1965. She was the only sister to celebrate her twenty-fifth Jubilee at Saint Anthony and was the last of the Immaculate Heart sisters to leave Saint Anthony convent in 1968.
The need for another Catholic church brought about the announcement of the building of Saint Bartholomew’s Church on Livingston Dr., which was dedicated on March 12, 1939.
Father Lucey was appointed Bishop of Amarillo, Texas on May 1, 1934. His replacement, Monsignor Donahue found that the task of collecting money to pay for the building that was destroyed as well as all the rebuilding overwhelming. He was reassigned in 1935.
Father William Stewart assumed the pastorate in 1935. He formed a strong team with his two associates and together with the unflagging support of the congregation performed the enormous task of reducing the debt considerably. He was remembered as being very sympathetic; as one parishioner put it, “We loved him because he could laugh and cry with his beloved flock.” Father Stewart died in September 1938 while visiting family in Ireland.
Pastorate of Monsignor Bernard Dolan – 1938-1968
Monsignor Dolan arrived in November 1938 and immediately began work on improvements. He paved the schoolyard and increased the playground space by purchasing the lot on Sixth Street ending at the alley. His concern for the Sisters’ living conditions led to the building of a new convent at the corner of Sixth Street and Olive Avenue, which was dedicated on May 4, 1940. He developed the garden at the rear of the Church and restored and installed the statue of Saint Joseph, made of Italian marble, which was in the old church and damaged by the earthquake.
Monsignor Bernard Dolan
| Mia Beglinger graduated from Saint Anthony High School in 1940. She remembers many of the wonderful Immaculate Heart Sisters, especially Sisters Gabriel and Madonna. Mia was only there for two years but has cherished memories of singing in the choir, wearing hats, celebrating May Crownings, and being a member of the Sodality. The students were an integral part of the parish, singing at funerals, and actively participating in all facets of parish life. Mia’s daughter, Melissa, was also a Saint Anthony graduate. Mia has been very involved in fund raising, alumni, and school activities throughout the years since her graduation. She still lives in Long Beach and now serves as the primary source for all class reunions, yearbooks, and historic memorabilia from the high school.
The major interest of Monsignor Dolan was the schools. Although the Sisters had conducted a coeducational high school since 1921, Monsignor wished to establish a central high school for the boys in the area. In April 1941, he purchased the lot on Olive and Seventh streets and laid the foundation for the Boys’ High School in June 1941. The construction of the building was due largely to the generosity of Mrs. Mary C. Young who wished it to be a monument to her mother, Doctor Mary Young Moore. A plaque commemorating the donation is mounted in the entrance to the current high school.
Monsignor Dolan asked the brothers of the Holy Cross to run the school. In September 1941, five brothers were sent from Notre Dame and Brother Hyacinth, CSC, was appointed principal. He remained at Saint Anthony until 1945 and recently celebrated 80 years as a Holy Cross Brother. On September 8, 2002, he celebrated his 100th birthday.
Brother Hyacinth, CSC
While the school was under construction, the Brothers and Sisters shared in teaching the classes. By December 1941, the new school was complete with a library, science labs, and classrooms. Both girls and boys departments shared the library and science labs. Student body assemblies and meetings were held jointly. The first issue of the Anthonian Year Book was published in 1935 but then publication was suspended until it resumed in 1941 and continues to this day. The school’s athletic program, which had begun in the early thirties, was also reorganized and expanded.
Saint Anthony High School Boys’ Department
In 1942, the nation was at war and all high schools were asked to include military training in some form in their curriculum. The Victory Corps was established at Saint Anthony High School including divisions for Air, Land, Production, and Community Service. Brigadier General James J. Meade and his advisory board trained and directed the student cadets.
Saint Anthony High School Victory Club Leaders
The parish Altar and Rosary Society members provided hot meals for servicemen in the basement of the school.
Service men at breakfast in the school cafeteria
All of the local parishes worked together to develop and staff a Catholic Service Men’s Club providing games, books, magazines, writing desks, stationery and a snack bar. Each parish took turns providing volunteers to wrap Christmas packages, or type letters, as well as maintaining the library and snack bar.
The academic standing of the school continued to be of primary importance. In 1942 Sister Concepta and Brother Hyacinth applied for membership in the California Scholarship Federation. Their efforts were rewarded when Saint Anthony High School was inducted into this Honor Society on January 20, 1943.
Saint Anthony High School had fielded interscholastic football, basketball, and baseball teams since the 1930s but had no regular practice facilities. They were using vacant lots or the basement of the Salvation Army building. Monsignor Dolan recognized the need for expanded facilities for athletics. He leased land from the city for football and the YMCA gym for basketball. In 1946, an 11 acre site in Lakewood was acquired and a stadium built there. It was reported as having the finest lighting system in Long Beach with stands that seated 10,000 people, and complete lockers with showers and dressing room facilities. Monsignor hired Jaques Grenier and Laverne Bell as football coaches and they led the team to CIF major school championship in 1948.
Monsignor Dolan decided to use the old lot to build a gymnasium and set about to raise funds for the building. It was named Saint Anthony Catholic Center and had facilities for various cultural activities. It was dedicated in April 1948. At a cost of $300,000, it was Long Beach’s most modern gymnasium with facilities for a full-scale athletic schedule. It was air-conditioned and was used for supervised school dances every Friday night. It was built to accommodate 3,400 people for graduation exercises and up to 2,100 for basketball. The building was primarily dedicated to the service of youth and offered a well-rounded program of activity in intellectual and cultural fields.
Saint Anthony High School Gymnasium
Under the direction of Monsignor Dolan, a tremendous program of building and expansion took place. The Sisters’ convent added an annex to provide 28 private bedrooms for the 26 Immaculate Heart nuns who taught in the girls’ high and grade schools. In 1950, a residence for the Holy Cross brothers was built with 18 bedrooms, a chapel, patio, and recreation room plus quarters for a cook and housekeeper. There were 14 brothers teaching at Saint Anthony in 1952.
Sisters’ Convent Brothers’ Residence
An article in the Tidings newspaper on September 26, 1952 declared Saint Anthony school as the largest in the West. Approximately 2000 students were attending its three school departments in what was stated as the largest parish school plant west of Chicago. Enrollment figures for the Fall semester show there were 704 students in the girls’ high, 696 in the boys’ high, and 585 in the grade school. Only 675 of these pupils lived within the parish boundaries.
In 1952, the Tidings reported, a source of particular pride at Saint Anthony Girls’ High School was the fact that each year 9 or 10 vocations to the Sisterhood were found among the senior class. Nine 1952 graduates were in the Immaculate Heart Novitiate at Montecito. Three nuns on the faculty at that time were alumnae of Saint Anthony. The Boy’s High School sent five of its 1952 graduates to Los Angeles College Junior Seminary.
Monsignor Dolan’s interest in young people led him to form the Antonian Club in 1946. The group of young adults, over 18, was involved in social and religious activities and led to many marriages and religious callings. Jean Davis recalls many trips, concerts, plays, and fund-raisers to support missions in Africa. Jean is still active in a branch of this group called the SCOT Club (Single Catholics Over Twenty-Three).
Jean Davis (Bottom Left) and some of the Antonians – 1947
The number of Catholics in Long Beach continued to grow. Saint Barnabas Church at Carson Street and Orange Avenue was dedicated in 1941. Saint Cyprian on Clark Avenue near Del Amo Avenue and Holy Innocents on Willow Street and Pacific Avenue were both opened in 1944. Our Lady of Refuge at Stearns Street and Clark Avenue was dedicated in 1948, followed by Saint Cornelius, at Wardlow Road and Bellflower Boulevard in 1951. Two years later Saint Pancratius opened in Lakewood. In 1955 both Saint Joseph’s at Willow Street and Palo Verde Avenue and Saint Maria Goretti at Palo Verde near Carson Street were dedicated. Saint Anthony is the mother parish of this area from whose original boundaries 27 parishes have been carved.
Alma and Herman Brandt and their children moved to Long Beach in 1950 and rented a house on Olive Avenue from Monsignor Dolan who managed several buildings on the west side of Olive Avenue that were given to St Anthony Church. They later purchased the house and Alma became an avid gardener growing a wide variety of roses and other flowers in her front yard. She was a daily communicant, active in the Altar Society, and volunteered as Sacristan for many years. She stayed very involved in the upkeep of the Church, washing and ironing altar linens right up to the time of her death on September 29, 2002 at the age of 90.
Monsignor Dolan pursued his dreams to make major building improvements in the church, especially as the celebration of Saint Anthony’s Fiftieth Anniversary arrived. In 1953, he had the church building cut in two pieces and moved the entrance out 30 feet to the sidewalk line to increase the seating capacity. Construction was then started on restoring the two main towers that were on the second Church, which had been destroyed by the earthquake. The towers are 80 feet tall, built of reinforced concrete with facing of cast stone and blue, red, and gold mosaic tiles, topped with gold crosses. A new front was then built between the towers to form a large vestibule made of marble and terrazzo tile.
In celebration of the church’s Golden Jubilee and the Marian year in 1954, a 24 by 34 foot mosaic depicting the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven was placed above the main entrance. The mosaic work was done in Rome under the close supervision of Vatican officials and fashioned after great art masterpieces, notably the famous painting by Borgognone, which hangs in the Brera Gallery in Milan. At Mary’s feet are Saint Peter and Saint John. At their left are depictions of a church layman, a priest, Pope Pius XII, and Archbishop Cantwell who dedicated Saint Anthony Church in 1903. At the right are portrayed Cardinal McIntyre, Bishop McGucken and Bishop Manning, and two church laity. The Holy Spirit is represented as a dove at the apex of the mosaic. Also included in the main panel are the Apostles, gazing in wonderment at the tomb. They are flanked by Saint Anthony on the left and Saint Dominic and two sisters of the Immaculate Heart on the right. Just below the mosaic, over the portal of the church’s main entrance is a representation of Christ and the words “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. Twelve individual adjacent mosaics represent the patrons of neighboring Long Beach Catholic churches: Saint Pancratius, Saint Anne, Holy Innocents, Saint Barnabas, Saint Bartholomew, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of Refuge, Saint Matthew, Saint Athanasius, Saint Cyprian, Saint Lucy and Saint Cornelius. Five foot marble statues of Saint Anthony and Saint Francis stand in niches. It took nine months to complete the mosaics in Rome and another three months to install them. Msgr. Dolan, Fathers James Hansen and Leland Boyer, Sisters of the Immaculate Heart, teachers and students from the high school assembled sections of the design on the gym floor. Monsignor Dolan said it was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle and estimated it took 2, 500,000 pieces of mosaic.
Work on the interior of the Church was taking place at the same time. It included the installation of rose-colored marble floors from Italy, walls paneled from floor to the base of the windows with pastel marble, new pews, and mosaic depictions of the Stations of the Cross. A magnificent mosaic was placed above the main altar depicting the life of Saint Anthony in three distinct panels.
Main altar and wall panels
The elementary school had been moved in 1942 from the main building on Olive Avenue to the one-story building facing Sixth Street that was originally used for the high school. Sister Leonella was serving as principal of the Girls’ High School and the elementary school.
In 1955, the Elementary School was moved to a new building on Fifth Street and Alamitos Avenue. A second story was added using a new method of lifting pre-formed concrete slabs atop the first story. Plumbing and electrical installations were built into the slabs before pouring the concrete.
Saint Anthony Elementary School
Josephine and Joe Gonzalez moved to Saint Anthony in 1953 and were greeted personally by Monsignor Dolan in the rectory when they went to enroll their two oldest children in the elementary school. Josephine has fond memories of the beautiful church services that were held during Holy Week, especially the moving talks that were given on Good Friday by Associate Pastor Father James O’Callahan. She was involved in the “Fish Frys” held every Friday in Lent with her daughter, Lupe, organizing the high school student helpers, and assisting the Holy Name men who cooked and served over 500 people weekly.
In the mid-fifties and into the sixties, the elementary school Mother’s Club was very active, organizing Halloween Carnivals in which the students came dressed as their favorite saints, enjoying potluck dinners, depicting Tableaus of the Nativity, and providing many other fund-raisers to provide equipment and supplies for the school. They also cooked and served hot lunches and recess treats for the students.
Among those most active in supporting the schools was Rose Johns, whose two children went through the parish schools. Rose was always willing to help with whatever needed doing and continues to do so today as her grandson, Matthew, attends Saint Anthony Elementary. Helping others is a part of the family as demonstrated by her husband Bill. After his retirement from his career with the City of Long Beach in 1994, he served as a full time volunteer maintaining the entire plant and supervising the custodial staff for the parish. Bill was always there or on call when anything needed to be done. He was seen on the parish grounds seven days a week. The parish suffered a great loss when Bill passed away on Dec. 3, 2003 after a long battle with cancer.
In 1961, Father Joseph Sartoris, now retired Bishop Sartoris, was an associate pastor at Saint Anthony who facilitated the changes from Vatican II. He took the time and patience to teach the community how to respond in English at Mass and receive Communion in the hand. He explained why the changes came about and how they were more in line with the early church. Father Sartoris taught the community to sing the responses during Mass and with the choir. He directed the choir and took them to competitions with other churches, winning first prize.
Monsignor Dolan continued his outstanding work until his sudden death in 1968 while on vacation in Apple Valley, CA. All who knew him remember him with great fondness and admiration.
Pastorate of Monsignor Gualderon – 1968-1994
Monsignor Gualderon came to Saint Anthony in September 1968. The parish had a debt of $379,000 at that time. In 1969, following the dictates of Vatican II, Monsignor had the marble altar cut away from the backing and moved forward so the priests could face the congregation while saying Mass.
Another change that came about through Vatican II was that nuns were no longer required to wear habits and were encouraged to complete their college educations. The Immaculate Heart Sisters wished to implement these changes but Cardinal McIntyre did not want them to do so. They had planned to phase out those Sisters who were teaching but needed to complete their Baccalaureate degrees over a period of years but the Cardinal was vehemently opposed and ordered them all to leave the schools in the Los Angeles Archdiocese at the end of the school year. As a result, in 1970, all 28 Sisters left Saint Anthony schools and moved their ministry to other areas. Over 130 Immaculate Heart Sisters had served Saint Anthony schools since 1916. Their leaving was a great loss.
Monsignor Gualderon was desperate for teachers for the schools and finally managed to get 10 Sisters from the Order of Saint Francis in Syracuse, New York to fill the void. The Sisters were assigned with 5 to the high school and 5 to the grade school. The increased cost for additional lay teachers made it necessary to combine the Girls and Boys departments of the high school.
The elementary school needed more play area so Monsignor Gualderon purchased the three remaining houses to the south of the church facing Olive Avenue. These houses were torn down and the area was paved for parking and playground space.
Funding for the schools was an ongoing concern. The neighboring parishes of Saints Matthew and Bartholomew had to close their grade schools but Monsignor Gualderon had a strong commitment to keep Saint Anthony open. He made contact with high school alumni who had successful careers, such as Rudy Munger, John Lundgren, and Richard McDonald. They helped him establish the Saint Anthony High School Foundation fund, which has brought in as much as $500,000 a year. Other alumni continue to support the school through the annual golf tournament, which raises $30,000 every year, mainly through the auction of items donated by alumni.
Another influential group was the Newman Club, composed of Catholic businessmen and professionals in Long Beach who met monthly in the Church Hall. They organized the annual Grand Prix races held in Long Beach and invited Monsignor Gualderon to say an opening prayer for many years. Widely known for his good-humored and heartfelt invocations at the Toyota Grand Prix and other major events, he was sometimes called “Monsignor Long Beach”.
Monsignor Gualderon was very active in civic affairs, often inviting the mayor and council members for dinner. He established relationships involving Saint Anthony in the city’s redevelopment program, which are still beneficial today. He served for eight years on the Long Beach Human Relations Commission and was on the Saint Mary Medical Center advisory board. He was often referred to as “Monsignor Long Beach”.
Parish groups with large numbers of active members assisted in many ways. The women’s Altar and Rosary Society and the men’s Holy Name Society were the largest with over 100 active members.
Louise Fleck came to Long Beach when her husband was dying of cancer. She became a Catholic after his death because Bishop Sartoris was so kind to her. She raised her son David in Saint Anthony and worked as the school secretary in the elementary and high schools. After the Immaculate Heart Sisters left, she started working as the parish secretary and served in that position until her retirement in 1990. She continues to serve as an active member of the Women’s Guild and as a money counter each week.
Marge Hall who sent her 8 children through Saint Anthony schools was a very active volunteer in the sports programs. She started helping with the housekeeping chores at the rectory as a volunteer and in 1968 was asked to stay on at a salary of $2.35 per hour which included washing and ironing the priests’ clothing, bedding, curtains, tablecloths, altar linens, and cleaning floors, walls, windows, and bathrooms throughout the building.
Marge Hall served all the priests and tried to remember their individual preferences for cleaning and laundry. At times, there were as many as 9 priests in residence, including those who came for the summer months. She was particularly fond of Father Caruso who was very caring and considerate of the staff and volunteers. He was fond of giving large dinners to thank those who worked for the church. She remembered a yellow chenille bedspread that had belonged to Father Caruso’s mother and he would not give it up. Marge took it home often to patch holes. It was a great shock to her when Father Canna called her about 9 PM on New Year’s Eve 1997, to tell her of Father Caruso’s sudden death. Bishop Sartoris, whom Marge had known when he was an associate pastor with Monsignor Dolan, celebrated the funeral Mass and consoled Marge when she spoke to him afterwards about her grief. Marge Hall continued to work with Father Canna and then Father Krekelberg. She left in October 2000 when she had to undergo hip surgery.
Yvonne and Sven Krijgsman became active in parish organizations in 1968 when Sven converted to Catholicism. Yvonne began as a helper in the Religious Education Program in 1968 and went on to become Director of Religious Education in 1972, a post she still holds today. About that time they both became involved in the Boy Scouts and are still involved in that work today. Sven was also the Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus.
Sister Margaret Coyne OSF was assigned as Principal of Saint Anthony Elementary School in 1978. She arrived to find a school badly in need of painting, planting, and planning. She was determined that changes were to be made and began to do that the first day she saw the school. Sister Margaret has formed a school environment
Sister Margaret Coyne OSF
that is clean, attractive, academically challenging, warm, and supportive. The school was awarded a full six year accreditation in three consecutive State reviews and established the first licensed pre- kindergarten in a Long Beach Catholic school.
As Sister Margaret enters her 25th and final year as Principal of the elementary school, her constant presence at the school is evident in both the physical and spiritual environment with many former students coming back and thanking her for her love, guidance and discipline. A tribute to Sister Margaret and all the sisters who have served Saint Anthony schools through the years was held in April, 2004.
The Salazar family became strong supporters of Saint Anthony schools in 1989 when their oldest daughter began attending the High School. When their son entered the elementary school in 1991, Martin Salazar got involved in maintaining the building and was given the volunteer title of Facilities Coordinator. Over the years he has found time to fix things, paint, remodel, and take care of any maintenance problems that arise. In 1994, he became the Scoutmaster for the boys and Troop Leader for the girls and continues to organize and conduct weekly meetings, yearly campouts, and work toward badges. In 2001, he assisted a team from De Vry University in wiring the entire school for internet access. His wife, Maryellen, has also spent many hours volunteering in the school library and anywhere else she was needed. The family tradition of service continues as their children and grandchildren are now involved in parish ministries.
In the 1980s, the neighborhood began to change with many of the old families moving away and the arrival of different ethnic groups. This brought about changes in the parish including the addition of Spanish Masses, celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe feast day, performance of Las Posadas by the school children, and Mexican dinners.
Sergio Ramirez, one of six children of the Fortino Ramirez family, remembers when they moved to Saint Anthony Parish in 1982 there were no Spanish Masses or groups for Spanish speakers. His parents impressed on the children that they had to behave perfectly in church because there were so few Latino families present. Sergio’s brother, Israel, became an Altar Boy with Monsignor Gualderon. Once the Spanish Masses began in 1985, by order of Archbishop Mahoney, the Ramirez family became very involved as Lectors and Eucharistic Ministers which they continue to do today.
Aquiles Bernales raised his family in Saint Anthony Parish but usually went to Mass at Holy Family or Saint Matthew Church because they had Spanish Masses. When Father Peacha was transferred from Saint Matthew to Saint Anthony in 1980, Aquiles became more involved. He worked with the Spanish speaking community to help them form groups that would support their needs. His children went to Saint Anthony High School. When Monsignor Matas arrived in 1996, he asked Aquiles to become the Hispanic Coordinator for the parish. Aquiles continues to be very active in the parish, serving as Usher and Sacristan for the Spanish Masses. He was asked to be a member of the First Parish Council formed by Father Caruso in 1994.
Pauline de Castro, Aquiles Bernales, and Josephine Gonzalez were early leaders in the development of Spanish Masses and ministry groups at Saint Anthony. With the help of several of the associate pastors; Fathers Peacha, Lopez, and Alvarez, a variety of activities were developed. The first Spanaish Mass at Saint Anthony Church was started in 1985. Father Peacha asked Josephine Gonzalez to sing and cantor at the Spanish Masses and Pauline to be the Lector. Aquiles Bernales organized the ushers. Laura Aguirre, Pauline De Castro formed a team with 6 others and began to visit homes in the parish to invite the Spanish speaking people to attend the 1:30 PM Mass. In 1986, Father Abelardo Lopez arrived and strongly supported training sessions for the Liturgy. He formally established the community celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and supported the live representation of the Stations of the Cross in Spanish. Father Porfirio Alvarez came in 1988 and started the first Spanish Youth Group, which continues to be one of the most active groups in the parish today. Pauline de Castro worked with a group including Josephine Gonzalez to organize the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe feast day which included a free Mexican dinner for about 400 people. She also provided training for the Spanish lectors and coordinated the Spanish Liturgies for 11 years. was invited to participate in the Los Angeles Archdiocese Convocation held in 1987. Through this she became involved in Bishop Fisher’s tribunal work as an advocate at the Chancery Office and later with the development of parish councils.
In 1997, Pauline, along with Josephine Gonzalez and Father Abelardo, formed and remain active in the Guadalupanos, a group devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Their work includes praying the rosary, reaching out to the Spanish speaking community to bring back fallen-away Catholics, and promoting prayers to the Blessed Mother in homes throughout the parish community.
It wasn’t until the year 2000 that Pauline de Castro was successful in her efforts begun in 1982, to form a Spanish speaking Religious Education program. She has recruited and trained many teachers and helpers and provides a comprehensive program of parent education related to the children’s studies.
In 1996, Grupo Oracion began as a charismatic form of adoration with a small group of 9 people under the leadership of Deciderio Becerra. The main objective of the group is evangelization and the formation of the Catholic people. It has grown tremendously throughout the country and fosters a strong and fervent devotion to the Church. It is currently one of the largest and most active ministries in Saint Anthony parish, providing monthly mini-retreats and annual retreats, classes for couples not married in the church, children’s activities, and community outreach. They sponsor a choir and meet for prayer and planning twice every week. There are now about 50 active members who are involved in various other parish ministries as well.
Another indicator of the diversity forming in Saint Anthony parish was seen in the change of the use of the original church from a Spanish mission. In 1986, it was converted to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cambodian Catholic Mission, the first Cambodian Catholic church in the nation. It was led by Father Rondineau, who united the Cambodian Catholic members in Long Beach. This continues to be a source of support and cultural growth to the Cambodian community under the direction of Mary Blatz.
At the request of Monsignor Gualderon, Saint Anthony Church was declared a City Cultural Heritage Landmark on January 11, 1990 by action of the Long Beach City Council. The recommendation made by the Cultural Heritage Commission was based on its historical significance as the Mother Church of the Catholic community in Long Beach, the distinctive Gothic Revival style architecture, and its strong visual presence, which make it a neighborhood landmark. Enrollment in the schools was declining. The Holy Cross brothers left the high school in 1994, due to a smaller number of new vocations. About 126 Holy Cross Brothers had served Saint Anthony school since 1941. Their work was greatly appreciated and their presence was missed. This placed a greater burden on the parish and its struggle to maintain the schools.
Monsignor Gualderon retired from active work as pastor in 1994 but continued to serve Saint Anthony parish as pastor emeritus until his death from a heart attack on September 29, 2003. He will be long remembered for his devotion to God and love of music and sports. He sang with many of the Big Bands prior to entering the seminary and was still willing to perform his favorite song, “Danny Boy” at the annual Saint Patrick’s Day Dance up until his last year.
Pastorate of Father Lawrence Caruso – 1994 – 1997
Father Lawrence Caruso was assigned as parish administrator in September 1994. In time, Monsignor Gualderon became Pastor Emeritus and Father Caruso assumed all the duties of pastor. He was very eager to expand parish involvement, especially among the various ethnic groups. Under his encouragement the Spanish-speaking ministry groups flourished.
Fr. Lawrence Caruso
In 1995, Father Caruso worked with Mary Maxie Chua, then musical director for the 8:00 AM Sunday Mass, to form an umbrella organization uniting all Filipinos in the parish. The Filipino community formed the Samahang Pilipino ng Saint Anthony Church in Long Beach, which worked to spread devotion to the Blessed Virgin and Infant Jesus, as well as providing support for groups in the Philippines who are helping those in need. Additional goals included assisting Filipinos who were far from home and needing support, providing spiritual development, promoting cultural awareness through the implementation of native Filipino celebrations in the Church. These traditions continue today with the celebration of the Immaculate Conception Mass, the Santo Niño service, sunrise services on Easter, and Simbang Gabi.
The families involved their young people in a youth group to help them understand the Bible, provide service to others, and to appreciate the Filipino customs and traditions. Roselle De la Cruz led the group in forming a choir and musicians which now provides the music for the 11:00 AM Sunday Mass.
Members such as Beth Silva, Teresa Sy, Mary Maxie Chua, Beng Romana Penado, Rosalina Cobilla and many others organized an annual celebration of Saint Anthony Feast Day with a dinner dance and awards given to dedicated parishioners. Their active involvement in all facets of parish work continues to serve Saint Anthony community.
Father Caruso formed the first Parish Council, Finance Committee, and Stewardship Council. They worked together to develop a Parish Plan and Mission Statement. Their work continues in efforts to raise needed funds and develop the social and spiritual lives of all parishioners.
Fostering the spiritual growth of the parish was a top priority for Father Caruso. He implemented the Renew program which was an in depth study of particular books in the Bible with discussion in small faith group meetings. These were also held in both languages. He implemented the Rite of Christian Initiation program in English and Spanish to provide instruction for those who wished to become full members of the Church. He fostered the growth of Bible Study groups in English and Spanish. These programs continue to flourish today and are a great service to the parishioners.
Father Caruso felt the need to involve people in the Liturgy as well. He initiated the practice of Eucharistic Ministers and Lectors, providing training and ongoing support for those called to this service. These groups, serving English and Spanish Masses, are now a vital part of the daily and holiday liturgies.
Physical and financial needs of parishioners were also addressed with the activation of a Saint Vincent De Paul group. This provided for the distribution of food bags twice monthly and financial assistance as needed. Father Caruso supported Val and Lucille Susilovich’s efforts to recruit help, seek funding, and assist as many as 100 families monthly. This group continues serving the poor today through financial, spiritual, and emotional assistance in times of need, providing help in finding work, furniture, and/or housing.
Father Caruso was very sociable, always taking time on Sundays after each Mass to greet everyone. He enjoyed entertaining parishioners and old friends, often doing much of the cooking himself. He had an annual breakfast after Midnight Mass each Christmas and Easter, and an annual dinner to thank all of the active volunteers.
Father Caruso focused much time and energy on turning around the declining enrollment in the high school. He worked with Bishop Sartoris to make needed changes in updating the curriculum and faculty. He assumed the role of Principal himself from 1996-1997.
Father Caruso worked very hard in all of his endeavors. It was a great shock and loss to the parish community when he died suddenly while jogging on New Year’s Eve, 1997. With the assistance and financial support of the Caruso family, the Father Lawrence Caruso patio was completed.It has built-in tables and benches with shade umbrellas, an outdoor cooking area, a bathroom with access for the handicapped and a memorial bust of Father Caruso. It is used every Sunday after Masses for social gatherings with various groups offering donuts and coffee or sandwiches and sodas.
Father Joseph Canna served as parish administrator after the sudden death of Father Caruso until June 1998 when Father Richard Krekelberg was assigned pastor. Father Canna was then reassigned as pastor to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Irwindale.
Pastorate of Father Richard Krekelberg – 1998 – 2004
Father Richard Krekelberg arrived at Saint Anthony parish in July 1998 and was welcomed with a Liturgy concelebrated with Bishop Sartoris and many priests from neighboring churches. The Installation Mass included a celebration of the diverse cultures in the parish with parishioners dressed in native costumes and a reception following.
Father Richard Krekelberg
Due to the suddenness of Father Caruso’s death, it was necessary to pick up the plans and projects that he had intended to complete. Father Krekelberg worked on several remodeling projects including the conversion of the Sisters’ convent into a parish center, moving of the Parish Office from the rectory to the parish center, establishing meeting rooms, and providing office space for the priests and members of the parish staff. The chapel was left intact and was open to the Church community for daily Adoration of the Sacred Heart.
Father Richard changed the focus of the Pastoral Council, bringing it in line with the Archdiocesan guidelines. He established quarterly meetings of the leaders of all parish ministries to foster communication between groups and build an understanding of the efforts of each to meet the needs of the parish.
Using specific donations, Father Richard initiated the renovation of the Parish Hall with a new sound system, drapes, stage floor, and paint. It was renamed the Monsignor Gualderon Hall. It is used to provide hot meals to the students and for parish and school sponsored events.
Pope John Paul II declared the year 2000 to be a Jubilee Year celebrating the 2000 years of existence of the Catholic Church. Saint Anthony Church was chosen to be the Jubilee Church in Long Beach. This included a formal Opening of the Doors on January 1 and an invitation to all parishes to visit Saint Anthony to receive special Jubilee blessings. Volunteers provided tours of the church and an informational brochure was distributed.
Jubilee of the Year 2000 – Opening of the doors
Father Krekelberg continued Father Caruso’s efforts to increase the enrollment of Saint Anthony High School by purchasing a school bus to provide transportation to school for students living in Lakewood and North Long Beach. In 2002, he established the position of President in addition to the Principal. Gina Rushing, an alumna, was appointed to this position. Her primary focus is to seek donations, grants, and, through positive publicity, an ever-growing student population. Ms. Rushing has been successful in getting grants and volunteer services to establish a state of the art computer lab with Internet access in most classrooms.
Efforts to reunite the parish schools began in the spring of 2003. The 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classes were aligned with the high school under the direction of Mr. Ray Bizjack, Principal. Sadly, Mr. Bizjack died of cancer in October, 2003. The plans to form an ongoing curriculum between the schools and promote unity are on hold, awaiting the appointments of new principals for both schools.
The summer of 2003 saw the first Youth Summer Camp under the direction of Associate Pastor Father José Magaña. The purpose of the camp was to provide the children of the parish with an opportunity to learn more about their faith while they were having lots of fun. Activities included games, crafts, field trips, discussions, and group work. Father José was assisted by a large group of volunteers who prepared lunches, helped children, set-up and clean up.
Summer Camp Adult Volunteers
Father Richard’s plans for the future include taking the church to the community by means of establishing small faith-based communities in the various parish neighborhoods. The purpose would be to enable prayer groups, Bible study and other programs to serve the needs of each neighborhood separately and make it easier for communities to access these services and become part of the church family. Father Richard said that with the “shortage of priests and the current challenges to the church it is important that people keep their Catholic faith. Having services and ministry come to them will make it easier.”
Unfortunately, Father Richard became ill in November 2003 and had to take an extended leave.Father José Magaña, his associate, was named the parish administrator. Father Jose continues the work begun by Father Richard and is striving to eliminate financial shortfalls in the parish and High School.
Father José Magaña
Centennial Celebrations June 2002 – 2003
Preparations for the Centennial Year actually began in the Fall of 2001 when each parish ministry group was asked to submit a list of commitments on how they would work to develop the spirituality of their members and of the parish at large in preparation for celebrating 100 years of holiness. These commitments were presented to Bishop Joseph Sartoris at a special Mass on September 23 to initiate this year of spiritual preparation.
In early spring of 2002, plans were finalized to order banners and get permission from the City of Long Beach to hang them from light poles on the streets surrounding the church. Letters were sent to nearby churches, businesses, and parishes advising them of the availability of the banners. Parish groups and families, as well, were encouraged to purchase them. By the first of June, 30 banners proclaiming the Centennial Year were hung throughout the neighborhood.
The Centennial year opened on June 2, 2002, with the celebration of a special liturgy. The main celebrant was Cardinal Mahony, along with Bishop Sartoris and other priests who had ties to Saint Anthony parish. Special guests included city officials, pastors of Long Beach churches and priests, brothers, and sisters who had served at Saint Anthony. A reception was held in the Father Caruso patio and schoolyard following the Mass.
Reception following the Mass
The next event, a Cornerstone Dance, took place on October 19 to celebrate the laying of the cornerstone of the first church 100 years ago on that same date. The theme focused on stones being the foundation on which our church is built and included recognition of many of the long-time parishioners and a Rock and Roll band provided the musical entertainment.
A highlight of the centennial year for those able to participate was a pilgrimage trip following in the footsteps of Saint Anthony. A group of 25 parishioners and friends flew to his birthplace in Lisbon, Portugal on November 8. From there, they went to the places in Italy where Saint Anthony had preached; Padua, Assisi, Venice, and Florence. The pilgrims were able to conclude their journey with an audience with Pope John Paul II in Rome.
Saint Anthony Pilgrims
in Padua, Italy
Saint Anthony Pilgrims
in Fatima, Portugal
The Centennial Year celebration concluded with a series of events on the weekend of June 13 – 15. On Friday, June 13, Saint Anthony Feast Day, a special liturgy and prayer service was held followed by a small reception in the patio. A Pastor’s sale and international food fair was held in the parking lot on Saturday, June 14. This included church and community members hosting booths with various items for sale. The food fair featured cuisines from many countries representing the diverse membership of the parish. Music was provided by a disc jockey and many people danced into the early evening.
Sunday, June 15, 2003 was the official closing ceremony. This began with a large group of parishioners meeting in front of the old church, now Mount Carmel Cambodian Mission, before processing to the present church. The procession included drummers, people in native attire, and Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus members in full regalia led by Father Richard Krekelberg. The Mass celebrated by Bishop Sartoris followed with a standing-room only congregation, reflecting faces from almost every continent. The Tidings newspaper reported that Saint Anthony is one of the most diverse parishes in the archdiocese with sizable Hispanic and Filipino communities, an aging Anglo population, and smaller numbers of Vietnamese, Samoan, Mariana Islander, and African-American parishioners. The pictures below, printed in the Tidings, show the drummers from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cambodian Mission leading the procession from the mission which is housed in the original Saint Anthony church building.
Priests who served at St. Anthony Parish
1902 Rev. Ramon M. Ferrer, lst Pastor
1904 Rev. Johanes S. Lubacher
1905 Rev. Peacendini
1906 Rev. M. J. Connelly
1907 Rev. Jacobus A. Reardon, 2nd Pastor
1908 Rev. P. 1. Mc Gratei
1909 Rev. U. J. Ryan, Rev. Thomas A. Lilly
1910 Rev. James A. Donahue, Rev. John Reynolds, Rev. L. P. Craney,
Rev. Leo J. Heiser, Rev. B. E. Naughton, Rev. Josephus Donohue
1911 Rev. S. F. Cain, Rev. Victor Fallen
1912 Rev. Daniel Reofrio, Rev. P. J. Mc Grath
1913 Rev. Michael Galvin, Rev. M. J. Kelly
1914 Rev. J. S. Loughan
1915 Rev. Fredericus Wall, Rev. Fredericus Ruppert, Rev. Vincent OSB, Rev. Germonus OSB
1916 Rev. Josephus S. Soughran, Rev. Franciscus Leuthewager,
Rev. Franciscus Woodcutter
1917 Rev. Joseph Valdez, Rev. Graham Reynold, Rev. Hugo Harman
1918 Rev. Immanuel Cordeiro, Rev. Philip A. Roberge, Rev. Daniel O’Donnell, Rev. C. J. Marceniak
1919 Rev. Jacobus Buckley
1920 Rev. F. Guadalupe, Rev. Paulus Mulcohy, Rev. M. F. Cordero, Rev. Daniel Kunan
1921 Rev. Ludovicus Philipparo Genesh, Rev. Thomas Sullivan
1922 Rev. John Hegarty 3rd Pastor, Rev. Emmett F. Paneer,
Rev. Eugene Villermary, Rev. L. Philippe Genesh,
Rev. Joseph Golob OSB, Rev. Joseph B. Cotter, Rev. Patrick Concannon
1923 Rev. Austin Flemming, Rev. William O’Donnell, Rev. M. H. Morris
1924 Rev. James A. Mayor, Rev. J. J. V. Organesciak, Rev. R.A.M.Cusker
1925 Rev. L. Kittder, Rev. H. I. Collin, Rev. Timothy Galvin
1926 Rev. John F. O’Brien, Rev. M. Ryan, Rev. Joseph Clarkin
1927 Rev. J. J. Shecky, Rev. Thomas Dowling, Rev. J. Clarkin
1928 Rev. Louis A. Mulvihill
1929 Rev. Robert Lucey, 4th Pastor, Rev. William Power,
Rev. William Mc Ginley
1930 Rev. Michael Byrne, Rev. Charles J. O’Carroll, Rev. Joseph Bouer
1933 Rev. Jerome C. O’Neill, Rev. Edward O’Flaherty, Rev. Thomas F. Fogarty
1934 Rev. George Donohue, 5th Pastor, Rev. J. F. Nash
1935 Rev. H. J. McHenry
1936 Rev. William Steward, 6th Pastor
1937 Rev. Michael Lalard
1938 Rev. J. F. Robinson, Rev. Daniel Sullivan, Rev. Fred Callahar
1939 Rev. B. J. Dolan, 7th Pastor, Rev. William Trower
1943 Rev. J. A. O’Callaghan, Rev. M. Lalor
1944 Rev. 1ohn McNamara
1947 Rev. J. B. Clyne
1948 Rev. G. T. Cahill
1950 Rev. James E. Hausen, Rev. Leland J. Boyer
1955 Rev. P. J. M. Hugh
1956 Rev. James A. Rother
1957 Rev. Ed. C. Maddox, Rev. Patrick A. Colleran
1959 Rev. Dennis Burke
1960 Rev. Sylvester F Ryan- now Bishop
1961 Rev. Ralph Platz, Rev. Joseph Sartoris -now Bishop
1964 Rev. Francis Meskill
1965 Rev. Rudy Gorman
1966 Rev. William P. O’Rourke, Rev. Jerome E1der, Rev. Michael Roberts,
Rev. Ralph A. Fitzpatrick
1967 Rev. Raymond Skoveyny
1968 Rev. Ernest Gualderon, 8th Pastor, Rev. Lawrence Triesch
1969 Rev. James Kossler, Rev. Anthony Pagnetta, Rev. Anthony Soran,
Rev. Horatio Nunez
1970 Rev. J. Leddy
1971 Rev. Brian Doran, Rev. John Stoeger, Rev. Robert Stein (Deacon in residence), Rev. David Cousineau
1972 Rev. R. Woods, Rev. Stephen Blair
1973 Rev. Leslie Delgado
1974 Rev. Gerard O’Donnell, Rev. Douglas Ferraro
1976 Rev. George D. Gallaro, Rev. Patrick Colleran (in residence)
1977 Rev. Peter Foran, Rev. Robert Uzzillio (in residence)
1978 Rev. Benedict Coerigan
1979 Rev. Elinito Santos, Rev. Domingo France
1980 Rev. Thomas J. Peacha, Rev. Altonso Scott
1982 Rev. John Meilak
1988 Rev. Abelardo Lopez
1989 Rev. Porflfio Alvarez
1991 Rev. Deacon Norberto Ricamora
1992 Rev. Ashley Perry SSJ
1994 Rev. Lawrence Caruso, 9th Pastor, Rev. Juan Motos
1995 Rev. Joseph Canna
1997 Rev. Richard Patterson
1998 Rev. Richard Krekelberg, 10th Pastor, Rev. Freddie Chua
1999 Rev. Isidoro Garcia, CMG (in residence), Rev. Wayne Noble
2002 Rev. José Magaña