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Weekly Bulletin August 14, 2022
by Terrie Evans
Our San Antonio Church Community celebrated their milestone anniversary with a family picnic last week on Saturday, August 6th and a wonderful Mass on Sunday, August 7th with our Archbishop, Dennis Schnurr. Our celebration began last year in August 2021 when the first group of descendants from the original founding families were invited for a Mass and Reception in our Hall to remember and honor their contributions they made toward the start of our church. We had a fantastic turnout on that 1st Sunday in August and every month since then brought back many generations of early family members to reintroduce our little church that when it was founded and dedicated in 1922, as San Antonio National Italian Parish. Many of our great grandparents and grandparents were then living in the Little Italy section of South Fairmount raising large families with the first-generation Americans of Italian descent. These members of those founding families of our church sent their pictures for the posters to be displayed on their Family Sunday. Throughout the year from 2021-2022, those posters would be shown in the Hall at San Antonio Church and then stored for the final celebration at a Church Picnic to be held at Maple Ridge Lodge the day before our 100th Anniversary Mass.
On Saturday, August 6, 2022, over 300 family members with ties to San Antonio Church shared connections with each other while enjoying wedding, family reunion and photos showing the following generations of those early immigrants, some dating to the late 1890’s. The beautifully done posters of those families tell the stories of the early settlement of the Italian Community in South Fairmount who had journeyed from small towns and remote villages such as Felitto, Potenza or Rocadespiede in Southern Italy. The pictures introduced many of us to the stories that were never told but, their faces showed the joy of arriving in a country full of possibilities as they celebrated their wedding day and the start of a new life. They struggled to get here and lived very hard lives, but they all had one thing in common, their devotion to their Catholic Faith and each other. They were living within the boundaries of South Fairmount known as a community of farms, factories, with two schools that served the students – Central Fairmount Elementary and St. Bonnies Catholic School. Many of the parents were not given the opportunity to attend school so an education and receiving the Sacraments were what they dreamed for their children. The posters told all those stories of accomplishment and successes within their families, the neighborhood and church. Our 100th Anniversary celebration Picnic and Mass was a success, and we are proud of all the volunteers who made it happen. We have done what our ancestors would want us to do, and we will never forget the generations of generous selfless individuals who held our church deep in their hearts and gave everything they had to keep it going. We are thankful to all our past and present San Antonio Church families for sharing their family stories with us, we are forever grateful.