- 1925: Fr. Patrick B. Fogarty offered the first mass (on April 15, 1925) at 8835 Hudson Street
- 1929: The Methodist Church at Montcalm and 73rd was bought for the parish
- 1952: The construction of the new church began under Fr. Hanrahan
- 1954: The new church in its present site is blessed on a Palm Sunday
- 1956: The interior of the church was ravaged by fire
- 1964: Another fire gutted the interior of the church
- 2000: St. Anthony’s celebrates 75 year anniversary
From Humble Beginnings
Today, St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church proudly stands on West 73rd Avenue at Montcalm in Marpole, Vancouver. Its story began in January 1925 with the arrival of Fr. B. Fogarty from Fargo, North Dakota. He was to establish a parish south of 49th Avenue between Cambie and MacDonald Street, to include all Sea Island and Lulu Island. He found temporary accommodations at the McNulty home on Cartier Street, and it was in their living room where he offered Holy Mass until arrangements were made for the use of the I.O.O.F. Hall on Hudson Street at Marine Drive. Appreciative members of the Catholic community rallied around the new pastor and arrangements were quickly made to purchase the building at 8835 Hudson Street. Fr. Fogarty celebrated the first mass in this building on Palm Sunday, April 15, 1925. It was to provide a place of worship, a parish hall downstairs, and living quarters for Fr. Fogarty upstairs for four years.
In 1929, St. Anthony’s Parish bought the Methodist Church on Montcalm and 73rd Avenue when it became vacant as a result of the Methodist uniting with the Presbyterians. It became the new place of worship for St. Anthony’s Parish. A former altar boy recalled the coldness in the church. The parish could not afford fuel, so the church remained unheated during weekdays. The altar boy served Mass in overcoat and mittens, and he noted that Fr. Fogarty’s hand were often white and numb with cold.
Two years after the purchase of the Methodist church, Fr. Fogarty wrote Archbishop Duke requesting permission to sell the property on Hudson Street.
Fr. Fogarty made plans and secured funds for new and bigger church. But plans had to be put on hold because of government restrictions. It was not until 1952 under the direction of the new pastor Fr. Hanrahan, that the construction of a new church could begin. In 1954 on Palm Sunday, the new St. Anthony of Padua Parish Church in its present site was blessed. The beautiful red brick structure was only two years old when a fire ravaged its interior. Eight years later in 1964 another fire gutted the inside of the church. The interior was completely refinished. But it was noted that “the odour and smoke hanging the air for months”.
Today, St. Anthony’s Parish serves more than 800 families, a tribute to the vision of Fr. Fogarty and to the hard work and sacrifices of Fr. Hanrahan who helped realize that vision. It stands in tribute to the selfless dedication of the various pastors after them and the unwavering support of the committed parishioners throughout the years. With pride it stands on 1345 West 73rd Avenue on Montcalm a testimony of 80 years of God’s blessings.