October 18, 2016
Hereford—Parishioners will celebrate the 65
th anniversary of the church building at St. Anthony’s Church during a 10:00am Mass Sunday, Oct. 23.
Bishop Patrick J. Zurek will preside at the Mass, with Father Tony Neusch, pastor, concelebrating.
During the Mass, five of the nine couples that were married that year, plus those who were baptized and received First Communion in 1951 will be honored.
According to a story in the June 9, 1972 issue of
The West Texas Register (now
The West Texas Catholic), the current church building replaced the first St. Anthony’s Church building, which was originally a courthouse.
The building has originally been erected in 1891 at LaPlata in central Deaf Smith County to serve as the first county courthouse. It was moved to Hereford in 1898, being completely torn down and rebuilt at the site of the current Courthouse. It was moved again in 1910, across the street to the corner of Sampson and Fourth Streets.
The old courthouse was converted into a church in 1922 at the cost of $25,000. The church was dedicated on June 13, 1922 by Bishop Joseph P. Lynch, who referred to the converted courthouse as “a miniature basilica.”
In the 1940’s, parishioners contributed to a building fund and by 1947, a new St. Anthony’s was assured as soon as post war conditions would warrant construction.
Ground was broken on May 7, 1950 on land purchased on Harrison Highway (now State Highway 385) and 25 Mile Avenue, which at the time seemed “out of the country, and is now the heart of the city,” according to the June 1972
The dedication ceremonies for the $175,000 church took place on Oct. 30, 1951, with Bishop Lawrence J. FitzSimon, third Bishop of Amarillo, presiding, and Father Dominic Kenney, S.A., pastor, concelebrating.
The new church building began a “mini construction boom” for the parish. Ground was broken in 1954 for a new St. Anthony School building, which along with a new convent and rectory, were dedicated by Bishop FitzSimon on May 15, 1955.
As for the old courthouse that became the first St. Anthony’s Church?
In 1957, the building was moved to the southwest side of Hereford, where it became San Jose Church. The building was expanded to minister especially to migrant workers. In 1980 it was abandoned when a new church building was dedicated in 1980.
In 2008, the building found new life thanks to a restoration project and is now known as San Jose in the Campo. Four years later, St. Anthony’s parishioner Randy Friemel completed work on paintings of the 12 Apostles that were blessed by Bishop Patrick J. Zurek during a Sept. 23, 2012 Mass. (