The parish of St. Anthony of
Falls on the
The settlement at
In 1851 the diocese of
St. Anthony’s became a predominantly Irish parish as other immigrant groups grew and established their own parishes. St. Anthony’s takes the moniker of “The Mother Church of the Lakes” because it is not only the oldest Catholic church in Minneapolis, but she is also the mother church for several other parishes that grew from her as members of other ethnic groups that settled near St. Anthony Falls became numerous enough to leave St. Anthony’s and establish their own parishes with a focus on their own distinct cultures.
In the 1880’s and 90’s the parish grew and brick buildings
replaced the wooden structures on the campus.
A high school was added to the parish school in the 1880’s. It was coeducational at first, with the
opening of De La Salle High School for boys on
Fr. Francis Lang became pastor of St. Anthony in December
1945. After decades of heavy use, the
church and school buildings were in need of major work following WWII. In May 1947, Fr. Francis Lang undertook a
heavy renovation of the church and added to the school. At that time the wooden high altar and side
altars were removed and replaced by modern blond oak altars still in
place. A wrought iron communion rail was
installed. A magnificent crucifix was
hung before a red and gold damask dossal drape in the sanctuary. Outside, the twin towers were removed and a
new façade of
Also as a part of the renovation project, the shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was dedicated on the church grounds alongside of the church in September of 1947. The shrine still stands and remains a part of the devotion of the people in the area with visitors coming to the shrine at all hours of the day and evening to pray.
Fr. John Brown, pastor from 1964-66 would remodel the sanctuary to accommodate the changes following the Second Vatican Council.
In 1960 the final addition to the school was completed to
meet the needs of the post-war baby boom.
It would be in use for less than ten years. In 1969 the parish elementary school was
consolidated into the
It was recognized that the St. Anthony neighborhood was an older neighborhood of close families. It would be difficult for elders in the community to go elsewhere for health care. In January 1980, Catholic Eldercare was incorporated. Fr. William Hough, pastor from 1974-1991, arranged leasing of the school land to Catholic Eldercare for construction of a full service senior housing and nursing care complex. In 1982-3, parts of the old schools which had closed where torn down and other parts incorporated into the new Catholic Eldercare complex which opened in August of 1983.
Changes were made in the church to accommodate the needs of the eldercare residents, such as removing pews in the front of the church to make room for wheel chairs and creating an indoor wheelchair accessible connection between the church and the Catholic Eldercare campus.
As St. Anthony of
It does so with a proud history and with a determination to
adapt itself to serve the needs of today’s Catholic people just as it has over
the last more than 150 years since 1849.
With the help of our parish patron saint, Saint Anthony of