Parish History

Old Photo of St. Anthony's ChurchTo recount the history of Saint Anthony's, it is necessary to go back as far as 1905. At that time, the old Chesapeake Beach Railroad served as the principal means of transportation from Washington, D.C, since automobiles were not a necessity.

Visitors to Chesapeake Beach soon found that there were desirable locations for summer homes a short distance from the amusement area. People of means began to build in North Beach as a summer resort for relaxation. They built a summer camp for children under the supervision of Monsignor McAdams.

Until a church could be erected, the very first Mass in the new community was celebrated by Reverend McGarre of Holy Cross College on August 27, 1905, in the private home of Mr. and Mrs. A.R. Townsend on the Bay Front called "Arturiel."

With the continued growth of the new community, the good people built within a year what was to be their original church. It was constructed of wood, painted white and dedicated by the Reverend D. Stafford of Saint Patrick's on July 1, 1906. The parishioners themselves, through the years, maintained the church by contributing their labor and material without any additional expense to the diocese.

In the early years of settlement most churches were without a resident priest. Upon completion of the church, the next step was to request a priest come to administer the spiritual needs of the community. The Archbishop of Baltimore complied and designated Father Schwallenberg to offer Mass here. He tended the needs of Saint Anthony's until 1912.

Senior residents of the community recall that after they had built the rectory, Reverend Pasquale DiPaulo, the new pastor of Saint Mary's in Upper Marlboro, came to offer Mass. Father Francis J. Loughran stands out most vividly in the memory of many parishioners. He was their shepherd for forty-one years, 1914 to 1955, at the same time performing his arduous duties as pastor of Saint Mary's and its far-flung Missions. Mass was offered once a month during the winter and every Sunday during the summer. He was instrumental in bringing the Sacraments to those unable to attend Mass and bringing the IHM Sisters–Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), Scranton, PA–from Saint Mary's School to teach Catechism to the children.

Father Lawrence P. Gatti, who was well remembered as a vigorous, dynamic pastor, succeeded Father Loughran at Saint Mary's. He inaugurated a successful pledge campaign, and he broke ground for the new, modern brick church and hall. During the process of construction, Mass was offered at the Beach Elementary School. Upon completion of the new church and hall, Archbishop Patrick O'Boyle laid its cornerstone in August of 1958. Bishop Hannan consecrated the altars in the spring of 1959- Monsignor Gatti was transferred to Saint Anthony's in Washington, D.C. in January 1961. His successor, the Reverend Robert E. Lewis, was pastor at the time of completion and was instrumental in providing its interior furnishings. Reverend J. Gregory Echle, who served for nearly two years and who gave unselfishly of his efforts to his mission flock, succeeded him.

On September 8, 1962, Saint Anthony's, after all these years as a Mission Church of Saint Mary's, was elevated to the status of a parish. Reverend William P. Anderson was named its first pastor. Father Echle was then able to devote full time to his responsibilities as pastor of St. Mary's.

Upon Father Anderson's untimely death, Reverend Anthony J. Bonfiglio became the second pastor of Saint Anthony's on January 19, 1963 and faithfully served through 1966. His successors were as follows: Reverend Anthony R. Griffin 1966-1967 and Reverend Francis F. Chadnicki 1967-1969-

In 1969, Monsignor James Hollis Brooks was appointed Pastor of Saint Anthony's Church by His Eminence, Patrick Cardinal O'Boyle, Archbishop of Washington. He served faithfully until his retirement in June 1978. Monsignor Brooks was a much loved and respected spiritual leader to Catholics and non-Catholics in this area. He was dedicated to the needs of the sick and shut-ins. The Reverend Robert S. Grace succeeded Monsignor Brooks in 1978.

Father Grace

Fr. Robert S. Grace

During Father Grace's tenure as Pastor, Saint Anthony's parishioners established Memorial Scholarships for Mount Saint Mary's in the following names: Reverend William Anderson, Reverend Anthony R. Griffin, the John C. Ewald Sr. Family, Reverend Patrick J. Durkin, Reverend Francis F. Chadnicki, Monsignor James Hollis Brooks and Monsignor Francis J. Loughran.

Father Grace initiated the Extraordinary of the Eucharistic Ministry Program. Ministers of the Eucharist are present at all the Masses and serve the shut-ins every Sunday. Father Grace served Saint Anthony's Church and Parish for twenty years 1978-1998.

Father Russell

Fr. David P. Russell

Reverend David P. Russell became Saint Anthony's Pastor in June 1998 and Reverend Patrick W. Kemp served as his Weekend Assistant until September 2008 when he retired.  (Sadly Fr. Kemp passed away in November of that year.)

The Ewald Center was renovated and is used for the Faith Formation program, the parish business office and the Knights of Columbus Calvert Council.

The rectory was also renovated and this facility is now the Religious Education Center. The Faith Formation program serves the parish well, as always, and continues to grow rapidly. Sister Ann Parker served as Director of Religious Education and Youth Ministry until 2004 until assuming the role of Pastoral Associate. Debbie Wheeler is the current director of those programs.

Father Kemp

Fr. Patrick W. Kemp

The new rectory is located at Second Street and Bay Avenue. The house on First Street was renovated and now serves the needs of the Sisters of the Dominican Order who teach at Cardinal Hickey Academy in Owings, Maryland. Our parish hall was renovated to make it a beautiful place for receptions, etc.

The home on Dayton Avenue was renovated and now serves as the home for the Ladies of Charity and the Food Pantry. The Ladies of Charity is an organization within the parish which serves the sick and poor, giving spiritual and corporal help as needed. The Food Pantry serves more than 100 families a month. They also help the homeless through Project Echo, recognize the elderly by hosting birthday parties at the Calvert Nursing Home, and sponsor baby showers for BirthRight.

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