Bishop James T. Schuerman celebrated Mass at St. Anthony School on Sept. 9. (Photos by David Bernacchi)

St. Anthony High School has consistently grown over its 150 years of existence.

This year is no exception, as it celebrates its sesquicentennial by adding a new chapel and classrooms, and merging the middle and high schools at their South Second Street campus.

Bishop James T. Schuerman, whose first assignment as a priest was with St. Anthony, came to St. Anthony’s new campus for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, Sept. 9. After the ceremony, Bishop Schuerman celebrated Mass with nearly 1,000 middle and high school students.

In his homily, Bishop Schuerman shared his joy at returning to the St. Anthony community, stating he had “wonderful memories” of his time at St. Anthony and how he enjoyed visiting the K-8 campus at Ninth and Mitchell.

Noting the feast of St. Peter Claver, the bishop pointed to his example as a person who spread the love and mercy of God, and challenged the students, faculty and staff to emulate this in their own lives.

He also noted the readings were appropriate for the beginning of a school year. The first reading, from 1 Corinthians, said, “When you run the race, you run to win.” The Gospel from Luke reminded us to “Love your enemies” and “do unto others.” The community was encouraged to do this by being of service to one another.

The bishop told the students to remember why they were there — to gain wisdom and understanding, not only in their academic coursework but also, and most importantly, in their faith.

In 1872, a new parish and elementary school, consisting of four classrooms, opened. The School Sisters of Notre Dame taught between three and four grades in each room. From these meager beginnings, St. Anthony became a thriving community that spans five campuses, serving more than 1,500 students and their families. In 2009, St. Anthony High School opened at Christ King Hall but quickly grew, moving to its current location in 2012.

It can be hard to maintain the school culture with growth and change, but St. Anthony’s seems to have kept the spirit, mission and community strong throughout.

Clara Gallegos, a senior who has been at St. Anthony since third grade, explains that seeing the campus and the community grow and evolve has been remarkable:  “It’s been so amazing sharing all of our cultures and just becoming a family.” She notes that even with an influx of new students, “it’s still the same. We’re still thriving. I think we’re all pretty amazing. Nothing changed.”

Alan Pastor, a senior who has been at St. Anthony since freshman year, said, “I’m looking forward to everyone being more together as a community.”

The new chapel, which can fit 200 people, will help with this.