The St. Anthony School Gala, coinciding with the parish’s 150th anniversary, was held Oct. 1. (Submitted photos)

In 1872, Bishop John Martin Henni wanted another southside parish to serve the faith needs of German Catholics who were immigrating to Milwaukee.

For a century and a half since, St. Anthony has stood tall on Milwaukee’s south side.

Bishop Henni appointed the assistant priest of Holy Trinity Parish (Our Lady of Guadalupe), Fr. Anton Isidor Decker, to build the parish. He raised funds for a building to serve as a parochial school and temporary church. By November of that year, the building was complete, and Bishop Henni consecrated it Nov. 19, 1872.

To celebrate their milestone, St. Anthony Parish and School have participated in several activities leading up to their anniversary Mass Saturday, Nov. 19.

On Sept. 25, St. Anthony participated in Doors Open Milwaukee. It was a celebration of Milwaukee’s art, architecture, culture and history.

The St. Anthony School Gala took place Oct. 1, following the school’s anniversary Mass, said School President Dr. Rosana Mateo, Ph.D.

“The 150th anniversary Mass was a beautiful celebration for our school and parish. We were fortunate to have the Florentine Opera and the Milwaukee Children’s Choir perform,” she said. “Our gala, which followed the anniversary Mass, was also a great success, raising more than $80,000. We transformed our high school gymnasium into a beautiful event space, gleaming in our school colors of blue and gold.”

WISN anchorman Gerron Jordan served as the emcee of the event. Mateo added he engaged the crowd as students entertained guests with cultural dancing and drumming.

“We embraced the culture of many of our students during Hispanic Heritage Month with celebrations and events at all of our campuses,” Mateo said. “Members of our school community participated in cultural dress days and learned about Hispanic traditions. TMJ4 and Telemundo news also visited us during our door decorating contest to interview staff and students.”

More than 250 attended the gala, and Mateo said they received much positive feedback about the event.

“They loved the engaging event and welcoming venue. They said that the cultural student performances were very entertaining,” Mateo said. “They enjoyed the different types of fundraising activities. Also, the Cubanitas’ food was delicious.”

Not everyone can book the Florentine Opera for an event, but St. Anthony School has been in partnership with them for years. One of the school board members serves on the Florentine Opera board, and he asked them to come and perform.

The St. Anthony 150th anniversary Mass will take place at 5 p.m. Nov. 19, and the following priests and bishops have been invited: Fr. Hugo Londoño, Fr. Erick Cassiano, F.M.M., Fr. Jaime Charuc, F.M.M., and guest priests Bishop James T. Schuerman, Bishop Donald J. Hying, Bishop Joseph Perry, Fr. Juan Pablo Avila, Fr. Javier Bustos, Fr. David Cooper, Fr. Thomas Demse, Fr. Tim Kitzke, Fr. Ronald Kotecki and Fr. Sergio Rodriguez.

Following the Mass will be a banquet, raffle and entertainment. For more information, call 414-645-1455.