BRIEF CHRONOLOGY AND HISTORY OF ST ANTHONY’S PARISH
The Parish was formed from part of Onehunga (mostly) and Otahuhu parishes. The Maori people of Ihumatao were cared for by the Mill Hill Fathers with a regular (monthly) Mass in a private home in the area. Fr. Van Enckevort being the last Mill Hill Father to work in the area.
As the population grew in the 1960s there was seen to be need of a Mass Centre and CCD classrooms. At least 50 percent of the Onehunga Parish School in the 60s came from the area – a school bus was arranged to bring the children to Onehunga.
Fr. Green, administrator for Onehunga in the 196os started planning and arranged the building of the Mass Centre in Kirkbride Road. The writer remembers the many stalwart Catholic families in the area – Morrow, Bonner, Tui, Oldehaver and Bains to name a few – who gave great support to Church, school and CCD classes.
For many years the Franciscans had been active at the Friary in the Hillsborough Road, they had always hoped for a parish in the Diocese and in 1966 Archbishop Liston gave a hint that the day might not be far off.
The building of the Parish Centre in 1967 at Kirkbride Road had been possible through a bequest of 6 acres of land from Mr John Geddes, a retired farmer in 1958. Fundraising was in full swing in late 1967 and a loan of $44,000 was made from the Diocesan funds.
In October of 1967 Archbishop Liston offered a parish to the Franciscans at the Mangere Bridge area, which the offer was accepted as from January 1968. The official documents from the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for Religious approving the offer and the documents from the Congregations for the Propagation of the Faith were issued on 14th May and 29th May 1968, respectively.
The first Parish Priest was Fr. Claver Munday O.F.M who set the Parish on its feet – among other things were 49 Baptisms in the first year and was Parish Priest until 1971 where he then joined the Diocese of Auckland.
(Special thanks to Fr. Bruce Boland, Diocesan Archivist for his research)