THE HISTORY OF ST ANTHONY’S CHURCH, POOLE
The church was opened by Bishop Cyril Restieaux of Plymouth in 1959, the site for the church having been chosen to serve the Catholic population in the adjacent Waterloo Estate
Church of St Anthony of Padua, Broadstone, Dorset
The dedication of this church honours St Anthony of Padua (also known as St Anthony of Lisbon in Portugal). The church was opened by Bishop Cyril Restieaux of Plymouth in 1959, the site for the church having been chosen to serve the Catholic population in the adjacent Waterloo Estate. It is one of the four Catholic churches in the Borough of Poole.
The Catholic history of Broadstone developed from the surrounding area in the pre- and post-Reformation era, especially in Canford Magna, in which the parish of Broadstone was located, along with other Catholic villages such as Stapehill, Hampreston and Wimborne Minster. Poole, the main town in the area, was staunchly Protestant at that time.
During the years after the Reformation, when it was difficult and dangerous for Catholics to practise their faith, Mass was offered secretly at various manors belonging to wealthy Catholic families. Later, in the 19th century, it became easier for Catholics to attend Mass openly and several Catholic churches were established in the area, including St Joseph & St Walburga's in Parkstone and St Mary's in Poole.
Broadstone began to develop as a village in the late 19th century and, following the expansion after the Second World War, it became clear that a Mass centre was needed. At first, Mass was celebrated in the homes of a priest's sister and parents, then in a hall until finally, it was realised that a church was needed in Broadstone.
Following the opening in 1959, St Anthony's was supplied by priests from St Mary's, Poole until 1965, when a presbytery was built and a parish priest appointed. The first priest was Father Joseph Phelan, followed by Fathers John Day, Con Twohig, John Kinane, Kenneth Noakes (now Canon) and then Father Keith Collins, whose Golden Jubilee was celebrated in 2007 and now Canon John Webb..
A splendid statue of St Anthony of Padua, carved in wood by Tom Preater, was donated to the church a few years ago and stands in the sanctuary. A smaller copy of this statue, also carved by Tom Preater, was presented to Father Keith Collins by parishioners on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee on the Feast of St Joseph.
Golden Jubilee of St Anthony of Padua Church in Broadstone, Poole, Dorset was celebrated on 13th May 2009. The service was attended by Bishop Christopher Budd.
Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231)
Born in Lisbon of noble parents and christened Ferdinand, he was educated at the Lisbon Cathedral school. His wealthy parents wanted him to be a great nobleman but, realising his religious vocation, he joined the Canons Regular of St Augustine, where he remained for eight years, studying, praying and gaining a profound knowledge of scripture and doctrine.
He was so deeply affected by the sight of the mutilated bodies of St Bernard and his four companions, the first Franciscan martyrs, which were brought to his church to be buried, that he decided to join the Franciscan Friars in 1220, taking the name of Anthony.
Following a period of illness, his gift for oratory was recognised when he was asked to preach at an event after a speaker failed to arrive. From that time on, he travelled to France, Italy, where he met Francis of Assisi, visited numerous universities, and was the first Franciscan to teach theology. His sincere and fervent teaching of the Catholic Faith could be understood by all and he attracted great crowds wherever he went. He became known as the 'Hammer of Heretics' and the 'Ark of the New Testament'.
His last years were spent in Padua, where he died aged 36 on 13 June 1231, and was given a grand and glorious funeral reflecting the esteem in which he was held. He was canonised by Pope Gregory IX at Spoleto, Italy, on 30 May 1232, and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII on 16 January 1946.
The bones of St Anthony rest in a richly ornamented chapel in the Basilica di Sant'Antonio da Padova (called simply Il Santo locally). His tomb lies underneath the imposing altar and is visited daily by countless pilgrims. Many votive offerings have been left in the chapel in thanksgiving for favours and blessings received.
St Anthony, renowned for his powerful intercession, is patron of the poor, the starving, seekers of lost articles and many more. Statues and paintings of him are found everywhere and typically show him carrying the Christ Child, a book, a lily and, sometimes, bread.
The feast day of this well-loved saint is celebrated on 13 June.
The photo above is of The Basilica of St Anthony in Padua, Italy
Prayer to St Anthony
Almighty God, merciful Father,
You have chosen St Anthony as an outstanding preacher of the Gospel and a messenger of peace.
Through his intercession, hear our prayers.
Sanctify every family and help its members to grow in faithand strengthen the bonds of unity and serenity.
Bless the children and protect the young. Sustain us all in our daily labours with your unending love.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen