Saint Anthony, Bessemer

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Parish History

St. Anthony Parish was founded in 1909 to serve the small community of Catholics in Bessemer.  Before that time, the faithful of the community would have to travel to New Castle, New Bedford or Youngstown, Ohio to attend Mass.  The Slovak residents of Bessemer have been credited with being the driving force behind the organization of the parish, although the parish was established as a territorial parish and not a Slovak nationality parish. In 1909 the first Mass was celebrated in Bessemer in a hall above a local hardware store called Nord & Griffin. 

In the spring of 1911, work began on a church building that was dedicated as St. Anthony Church on October 15, 1911.  This church became a mission church of St. Lawrence Parish in Hillsville.  In 1930, the church was remodeled and enlarged.  In 1938, the congregation had grown enough to support a resident pastor and on July 28 of that year, the first pastor, Rev. Joseph Young was appointed.

By the 1950's, it became obvious that a new church was needed.  On September 28, 1958, ground was broken for the new church, the cornerstone was laid on May 31, 1959 and the new church was dedicated on December 4, 1959.

This church served the community for the remainder of the century.  However, as the population of the area dropped as the century ended, it became obvious that St. Anthony could not continue as an independent parish.  As of 1995, St. Anthony again shared a pastor with St. Lawrence, Hillsville, although both remained independent parishes.  In the year 2000, after a two year study, the decision was made to merge St. Anthony and St. Lawrence to create the new Christ the King parish.  The new parish was established on June 3, 2000.  St. Anthony Church remains open as a worship site for the new parish.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

Exterior first St. Anthony, 1931
Main altar, St. Anthony, 1931
Exterior second St. Anthony, 2002
Altar, St. Anthony, 2002

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