Local News Archive
Print Issue: July 1, 1971
St. Anthony's Marks 60 Years In Atlanta
St. Anthony's Catholic Church in West End celebrated the 60th anniversary of the dedication of the church building June 27.
At the same time, Father Michael McKeever, pastor of St. Anthony's, celebrated the 40th anniversary of his ordination as a priest.
Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan celebrated the Mass and preached the sermon. A number of priests, including several who formerly served St. Anthony's, were on hand for the celebration.
Following the service, there was a reception in the social hall of the church hosted by the ladies of the parish.
Mrs. Mary Lucas was chairman of the reception, and her co-chairmen were Mrs. Vivian Mason and Mrs. Adele Williams.
Some 260 families on the southside are members of historic St. Anthony's Church which was begun by Mrs. Joel Chandler Harris at her Gordon Street home, the "Wren's Nest," now a museum which honors her husband, the famed creator of the "Uncle Remus" stories.
Tired of walking four miles each way to services at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Mrs. Harris called several ladies of the parish together to discuss plans for the creation of a new church to serve West Enders. This was in June 1902.
A year later, a house and lot were purchased at the corner of Gordon and Ashby Streets, SW, where the present structure is located. And, in June 1911, the corner stone was laid for the building now standing in West End.
Among those at the observance was Ernest M. Schanno, a member of the first "First Holy Communion" class of St Anthony's, June 13, 1905. Schanno is still a member of the church and lives on White Street in West End.
St. Anthony's Church also supports a school with an enrollment of 210 in eight grades which is located across the street from the church. Sister Barbara is the principal, and her assistants are Sisters Margaret, Manuela and Albert Mary.
Currently, the school is working on accreditation to the Southern Association of Schools, Father Kieran said.
Father McKeever, now in his third year as pastor of St. Anthony's previously served as pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Milledgeville and Our Lady of Lourdes on Boulevard in Atlanta.
St. Anthony's began with a total of twenty-four families and reached a peak in membership in the 1950s with some 800 families. An integrated church, St. Anthony's was the first congregation in the area to welcome black people into its membership.
It was also the first church to use urban renewal funds for renovating.