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History

Churches of Catholic Church

As Jesus commissioned the apostles to make disciples of all nations, the early Church grew out from Jerusalem. It experienced other traditions, cultures, customs, languages, art forms, architecture and music.

Eastern and Western Christians express the same basic truths of the Catholic faith in unique ways, and worship differently. All the churches of the Catholic Church are one and the same in their unity of faith, celebration of the 7 mysteries (sacraments), and communion with the Pope and the hierarchy.

There are 22 autonomous churches. Each church celebrates the faith as handed on by one of the six major rites of the Catholic Church. Each church encompasses a unique liturgy, theology, spirituality, and discipline. Each is characterized by its own cultural and linguistic traditions. Each is guided by its patriarch and/or bishops in unity with the Pope.

Maronite spirituality, liturgy, and traditions come from Antioch-Edessa, Syria. (Visit the Saint Maron web site for more information.) The Aramaic language is used in parts of the liturgy. It is the same language Jesus spoke during his earthly life and ministry.

A History of Saint Anthony’s Church

Maronites immigrated from Lebanon to America. A few Maronites arrived in Richmond, Virginia about 1895. They attended Saint Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in the Church Hill section of the city. The first Maronite Mass was celebrated in the home of William Moses Soffee on Franklin Street.

GardenBy 1902, early Maronites called for a meeting to discuss the establishment of a Maronite parish. By 1909 the numbers of Maronites in Richmond rapidly increased and they believed that they could support some form of a chapel. In 1912, Bishop Dennis O’Connell, Catholic Bishop of Richmond, granted them the use of Saint Patrick’s Church at a restricted time between 9:00 and 11:00 on Sundays.

In June of 1914, a hall over a candy factory was renovated into a chapel. Father Abdulla Tarabay, from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, became the first priest.

The hall burned down in the latter part of 1915 and in October, 1916, a chapel-like building was purchased at 505 N. 33rd St. It was renovated and named Saint Anthony’s Maronite Catholic Church.

In 1936, Father Joseph Yesbeck became pastor for a short period of time. When he left, Father Bernard Moore from Saint Patrick’s was commissioned to say Mass at Saint Anthony’s until a Maronite priest arrived. On November 10, 1938, Father (later Monsignor) Anthony Korkemaz became the pastor. Under his leadership, Saint Anthony’s was relocated to 2503 Park Avenue in 1948.

Father (later Monsignor) Beshara Salwan succeeded Father Anthony as pastor at the end of 1960. Land for the development of a church and recreational complex was purchased on Sadler Road in Glen Allen. After Monsignor Salwan’s death in 1984, Father George M. Sebaali was assigned by Bishop Francis Zayek to minister to the people of Richmond.

Organizations

St. Anthony’s Ladies Auxillary
The purpose of this organization is to build a strong relationship with God, to renew spiritual needs and to help foster and strengthen the community of St. Anthony’s on a social and financial level. This is done through monthly meetings, planning spiritual and social activities for the church, as well as participating in some civic and humanitarian activities within the greater community of the Richmond area.

Choir, Lectors, Ushers
Parishioners volunteer their services to the Church in the roles of choir, lectors, and ushers. All are welcome to participate. Contact the pastor for more information.

Maronite Youth Organization (MYO)
The purpose of our youth group is to bring together Maronite youth to make a difference in the lives of the youth in our church as well as the local community. They strive, through many programs, to gain a better understanding of our Maronite faith. They work to set good examples and become role models for younger members of our church, and the surrounding community. Their focus is on community service as a way of expressing their Christian responsibility to others. They sponsor supervised activities for the children of the parish as well as participate in youth retreats, Habitat for Humanity and youth conferences.

Junior Youth Organization
The Junior Youth group is open to all children from second through sixth grade. They meet on the second Sunday of the month after 11:00 a.m. liturgy for one hour. Activities include crafts, bake sale fundraising projects, field trips, outdoor and spiritual activities. During the summer special activities are provided for the children.

Altar Boys
The Altar Boys is an organization of boys aged 7 through 18. The mission of this group is to train young men to serve at the altar. They receive instructions at their meetings and are trained to serve during the liturgies. A group activity is planned at least once a year.

Scholarships
The purpose of the St. Anthony Scholarship is to recognize and support the young members of St. Anthony’s Church in their educational pursuit with the hope that they will continue to be active in the Church beyond their college years.  Up to five $2000 scholarships will be offered to St. Anthony Maronite Catholic Church parish youth who will be entering their freshman or sophomore year of college. A non-renewable technical school scholarship of $750 may also be given out to a parish youth who will be entering his or her freshman year.  The youth must complete the same application form but indicate which technical school he or she will attend.

New Applicants

  • Must be an active member of St. Anthony’s Church in good standing prior to submission of application.
  • Must be an active member of St. Anthony’s Church in good standing prior to submission of application.
  • Must have been or currently be involved in church activities including but not limited to, the Youth Club, Altar Boys, Choir, or Religious Education, during the high school years.
  • Must be a high school senior eligible for graduation or a freshman enrolled full-time in college who has not applied previously for the scholarship.

Current high school senior scholarship recipients who maintain a 3.0 grade point average or higher in college will be eligible for scholarship renewal the following year.  If a student has applied previously, he or she is ineligible to reapply.  

Vacation Bible Camp
The Bible Camp is for the younger children of the parish up to 12 years of age. Activities include religion classes, music, arts & crafts and physical games. The camp lasts one week, Monday through Friday, usually during the last week in June from 8:30 to 1:00 p.m.

Policies

Religious Education
Religious Education is for all children from Pre-school up to and including 12 graders and is scheduled Sunday following the 8:30 A.M. Liturgy (from 9:30-10:40 A.M. ).

Baptism
Contact the priest as soon as the baby is born. Instruction classes are offered for new parents and sponsors.

Requirements for Sponsors At Baptism

The Law requires at least ONE sponsor for baptism, and provides criteria for being a good sponsor.

  • He or she must be a practicing Catholic – this may be attested to by a certificate from the sponsor’s proper parish pastor;
  • He or she must have been fully initiated into the Church (have received all three initiation Mysteries);
  • Must be living a good, Catholic life;
  • Be free of Excommunication;
  • Not be mother, father, or spouse [of the candidate], and be at least 18 years old.

In general, the sponsor should be the kind of person who will support the parents in the duty of giving the child(ren) a Christian education and be a good example of Catholic life.

It is the policy of the Maronite Church to administer the Mystery of Confirmation at the time of Baptism.

Parents of children who have received both Mysteries (Baptism and Confirmation) should also make the staff of a Latin parish whose school the children may attend aware that these Mysteries have been received, for neither Baptism nor Chrismation may be repeated..

Marriage
Contact the priest at least SIX MONTHS prior to the wedding. Pre-marriage Formation Classes are required for both, bridegroom and bride.

In case of a prior marriage, no wedding date, (not even tentatively) can be set until the Marriage Tribunal makes its final decision.

Illness
Please call the rectory if someone is sick at hospital/home, or in a nursing home.