The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta  
Saint Anthony of Padua, Atlanta

Photo by Michael Alexander,
The Georgia Bulletin

Saint Anthony of Padua, Atlanta

Established:
September 20, 1903
Address:
928 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd., SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30310
Phone:
404-758-8861
Fax:
404-755-6755
Web site:
http://stanthonyatlanta.org/
City:
Atlanta
County:
Fulton
Deanery:
Central

St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church Mission Statement

Saint Anthony of Padua, Atlanta Interior Tabernacle

Tabernacle

We the vibrant, faith-filled, loving, and caring community of culturally diverse, predominately African-American families of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, the only Catholic Church in the historic West End community of Atlanta (established September 1903), respond to the call for stewardship by giving our gifts of time, talent, and treasure to build up God's church and his people. Guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit, we seek to be a beacon of hope in the community through outreach, volunteerism, and spreading the Good News of Jesus to all. As a Church family, we strive to collectively share the responsibility of continuing the mission of Jesus to heal, to reconcile, and to serve. We welcome all people and invite others to understand, appreciate, and enjoy our traditions of faith and worship as we grow in unity, walk in faith toward the future, and celebrate Christ as our Lord and Savior.

In communion with our local Archbishop and Bishop of Rome, our mission is to proclaim the Good News of Jesus our Liberator by:

  • Proclaiming God's presence in the midst of the West End of Atlanta

  • Serving human needs, especially those of the poor and oppressed

  • Fostering holistic lifelong learning from an Africentric family perspective

  • Worshipping God in sacrament and word from an Africentric perspective

Interior Mary statue

Mary Statue

The faith family of St. Anthony of Padua Parish values:

  • Africentric extended family perspectives

  • Spirit-filled worship

  • Serving the spiritual, human, and social needs of our community

  • Lifelong learning and formation

Parish History

St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church has a rich history of faith, service, and Christian witness in the West End of Atlanta, GA spanning over the past 100 years. The idea of building a Catholic church in the West End was conceived in 1902 by Mrs. Esther LaRose Harris, wife of Joel Chandler Harris, the famous author of the Uncle Remus stories. Mrs. Harris and a group of her Catholic women friends met at her home (The Wren's Nest) to discuss the lack of satisfactory transportation to a Catholic Church and schools to meet the needs of Catholic families in the West End community. As a result of their meeting, the women organized the Catholic Ladies Aid Society and were able to convince church leaders to establish a church in the West End.

The first Mass in the parish was celebrated on the Feast of St. Anthony, June 13, 1903, in the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Corley at 742 Laton Street, SW. The congregation consisted of a total of fifty-five men, women, and children, representing 24 families. The parish was formally dedicated on September 20, 1903 at a solemn Mass celebrated by Bishop Benjamin Keily. Concelebrating were Father John Gunn, SM, pastor of Sacred Heart Church, and Father O.N. Jackson, St. Anthony's first pastor. The parish soon began to outgrow the house it had purchased on a lot that straddled Gordon and Ashby Streets. In 1911, ground was broken and a cornerstone laid for the basement of the new St. Anthony Church. The present church building was dedicated on January 15, 1924.

martin de porres painting

St. Martin de Porres painting

The St. Anthony School, located at 651 Asbhy Street, opened in 1912 with two Sisters of Mercy teaching first and second grades. This facility was replaced in 1917 when a parishioner, Miss Hannah Kuhn, gave the parish a building located on the site of the present school building on Gordon Street (now Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard). That same year, the Sisters of St. Joseph began instructing the students. The most recent unfortunate milestone in the church's history was the closing of the parish school in the spring of 2001.

In 1932, West End parishioners began publishing the Chronicles of Atlanta Catholicism: St. Anthony's Catholic News. This citywide publication continued until 1962 and its volumes are an invaluable source of Catholic history in Atlanta.

The church facility has undergone two major renovations in the last 90 years. In 1940, parishioners raised over $40,000 to replace the roof and refurbish the building. Then again, in 1994-96, the church underwent a major renovation of the roof, sanctuary, and parish hall.

A long line of dedicated priests, sisters, and laity including pastors: Harry Clark, James Conlin, Joseph Croke, Joseph Smith, James King, Donald Kiernan, Michael McKeever, Eusebius Beltran, John Adamski, Bruce Wilkinson, Hugh Marren, Thomas Meehan, Craig David, and Anthony Curran have provided service and leadership for the parish over the past 100 years. Father Timothy A. Gadziala, the current pastor, began serving the St. Anthony church family on November 27, 2005.

St. Anthony was the third Catholic community to be established in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. The parish is home to over 600 families and includes a wonderful mixture of both long established parish families and newer members. The community continues to celebrate and foster the tradition of faith and service demonstrated by all the people who have gone before and who have made our Church family a strong witness to Christian fellowship and outreach.

Saint Anthony of Padua, Atlanta