St. Anthony’s Parish was formed in 1953 when Calgary had a population of 180,000. The title, “St. Anthony” was of interest because a small school by that name was already located in the area of the proposed church. In actual fact, the proper title of the church and parish is St. Anthony of Padua.
On May 1, 1953, Bishop F. J. Carroll canonically established the new parish of St. Anthony to serve the residents south of 34 Avenue, with Father R. P. Sullivan appointed as the first pastor. He rallied the forces for new parishioners within the community and celebrated the first Mass on July 1, 1953, in the former St. Anthony School. Masses took place there for a few Sundays, then moved to the nearby public school, because of the large crowds.
Pastor and parishioners then formulated plans for a new combined church and hall at the present location (5340 – 4 Street SW) and construction began on September 1, 1953. With the hard work and determination of the pioneer parishioners, completion of the church became a reality on November 1, 1953, and Christmas Eve Mass took place on the main floor of the original hall.
Then on March 6, 1957, Father Sullivan established a building committee to plan for a new church. After many meetings and building fund drives, a sod-turning ceremony took place on August 1, 1959. Construction of the current St. Anthony church began on August 1, 1960. The laying of the new church’s cornerstone was on December 31, 1960. Construction finally finished in 1961, along with the solemn blessing of the church. Celebration of the first Solemn High Mass took place on June 25, 1961.
During those times, St. Anthony’s parish family grew from 50 to 3,600 parishioners.