Established in 1955 as part of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and later becoming part of the newly formed Diocese of Orange, St. Anthony Claret in Anaheim will cap off a yearlong celebration of its 60th anniversary this weekend. The Oct. 23 – Oct. 25 festivities lead up to the feast day of the parish’s namesake, St. Anthony Claret, on Sunday, Oct. 25.
“Our 60th anniversary has been a great time of excitement and renewal,” says parish administrator Fr. Bill Cao. “It’s given us an opportunity to celebrate our origins and the mission of our patron saint — and also to reflect and plan on what we want to be as a faith family going forward.”
In addition to a thanksgiving Mass celebrated by Orange Diocese Bishop, the Most Rev. Kevin W. Vann on Sunday, Oct. 25, other festivities include a parish-wide dance (Oct. 23) featuring popular Latin music acts Los Angeles Negros and L.A. Sonora Dinamita, a concert (Oct. 24) by the Philippine Chamber Singers of Los Angeles, and a solemn procession (Oct. 25) through the surrounding Anna Drive neighborhood.
The second-oldest Catholic Church in Anaheim was built on what were avocado fields surrounded by Orange groves. Today, some 3,000 worshipers attend one of eight masses each weekend.
In 2009, the parish school closed after 52 years in operation; however, the classrooms continue to be in constant use throughout the week by one of 25 active ministry groups (including 10 choirs), and for religious education and sacramental preparation – approximately 800 children and 300 teens per year.
The parish’s devout and joyful personality will be on display during the nine days leading up to its namesake’s feast day on the 25th October. Known as a “novena,” by Catholics, the period of Oct. 17-24 will illustrate our belief in unity in diversity as each day a different language or age group takes the lead in leading that night’s prayers. The yearlong jubilee will culminate with a night of dancing (tickets also available to the general public) on Oct. 23 (6 p.m.-11 p.m.) with entertainment provided by the well-known and popular Chilean pop ballad band Los Angeles Negros and the Colombian cumbia group L.A. Sonora Dinamita.
On Saturday, Oct. 24, the parish’s Filipino community invites the public to purchase tickets to the performance (6:45 p.m.-9 p.m.) from the choral singing group Philippine Chamber Singers of Los Angeles. The night will include musical contributions from St. Anthony’s parish choirs and popular Filipina vocalist Lara Avengoza (currently starring as Princess Jasmine for Disneyland’s “Aladdin” show).
Finally, on Sunday, Oct. 25, the entire community will come together to live out the call to witness to the love of God in the second annual procession through the Anna Drive neighborhood. Last year, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait was among the 1,000-plus walkers and he is an invited guest as well this year. The Rosary procession immediately precedes the 12:15 Mass to be presided by Bishop of Orange, Kevin Vann.
“The goal is to have communities of reconciliation,” says Fr. Bill Cao. “Healthy families, to form leaders, and to see our multi-culturalism as a true strength.”
For more information on the events noted, contact the parish at (714) 776-0270.