History of St. Anthony's Catholic Mission
St. Anthony’s Catholic Indian Mission is located on the Gila River Indian Community in Sacaton Arizona. It is just south of Phoenix and is one of the Native American Indian Missions under the Phoenix Catholic Diocese. St. Anthony’s Indian Mission has a congregation of over 250 parishioners including the children.
Several years ago the historical St. Anthony Indian Mission was destroyed by an arson's fire. This was a devastating loss to the Catholic community but the parishioners have a strong love and faith for their Church. Through their sweat and tears, the parishioners began to clean up and save what they could from the burned remains. The only survivor was the big brass Church bell and it still remains in the safe hands of the parishioners waiting to be placed back in its home and once again ring in the community.
They continued to have mass outside under a tree but the heat finally caused the Parish to seek shelter indoors where these parishioners continued to serve mass at a local community center. They stayed there for many years until they moved to the place they are today. All this time the parishioners have been working very hard donating their time, supplies and income in an effort to raise enough funds to rebuild a church.
It became clear to the parishioners that they could not continue their church services at the community center. So they obtained a loan with the Phoenix Diocese to build a steel multi-purpose building. This is currently used for our church services. To most people it looks like a big metal warehouse but to the parishioners who attend church services it is a place to share God’s words through many religious activities — such as Weddings, Baptisms, Religious classes, funerals, and a number of fundraising events.
This is a building which brings joy to the parishioners who thirst to share in God’s love. Through countless efforts of fundraising and generous donors they were able to pay off that loan before the due date and now work endlessly on raising money to finally rebuild their church.
We are currently on the next phase of our rebuilding plans. St. Anthony’s church council along with its financial and rebuilding committees have been working with a local technician and have completed their final building plans. St. Anthony’s is here to provide a great need to the community in a continued effort to teach God’s word and care for the spiritual, social and emotional needs of its members and the individuals within the community.
St. Anthony’s parishioners are growing thanks to our Holy Father’s strong interest in putting families at the center of the church. As well as the Bishop’s challenges to Catholics to live the truth and to live out their faith.
Every October, we invite the community and the surrounding areas to join in on St. Anthony’s Indian Mission’s biggest fundraiser. With help and assistance we can get this dream of rebuilding a new Church accomplished.