Our History at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Community
St. Anthony of Padua Church was established by Father Otto Rezktenwald and a small group of Catholics on August 26, 1906. The church, which was named after St. Anthony of Padua – the Patron Saint for lost articles, served a community of Polish immigrants along the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids.
In 1907, the church opened its grade school, St. Anthony of Padua School, to educate the children of parishioners according to the gospel teachings of Jesus Christ. Fifty years later, in 1957, the church expanded by building a larger structure to accommodate the growing parish community. In 1994, St. Anthony of Padua again remodeled the church to update the facilities and structure.
Over the years, the Catholic Community has been faithfully served by several priests – Fr. Bernard Zajdel, Fr. Edmund Goldbach, Fr. Raymond Oosdyke, Fr. Fred Pasche among others, and Fr. Mark Przybysz. In 2023, the church was blessed with Fr. Tony Pelak, the current pastor.
Today, approximately 1,700 families are registered parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua, and 265 students attend St. Anthony of Padua School.