The stately structure at the corner of West Main Street in Atkinson is celebrating a historic milestone.

The stately structure at the corner of West Main Street in Atkinson is celebrating a historic milestone.

St. Anthony’s Catholic Church congregation will observe the 100th anniversary of the dedication of their present church at a Mass of Thanksgiving on Saturday, June 17.

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria and other guest clergy will celebrate the mass at 4 p.m. Fr. Stephen Engelbrecht is pastor at St. Anthony’s.

In keeping with tradition there will be a chicken dinner served for members of the parish family.

Mary Lou Goebert, who serves on the church centennial committee, said at the first parish celebration in 1917, a contribution of $1 per family was asked as an offering for a chicken dinner.

“The dinner tradition will continue with a voluntary donation for 100 years of faith,” she said.

Church members have completed numerous activities in preparing for the 100th birthday of their church building including creating a yearbook outlining the history of the parish, T-shirts, sweat shirts and aprons with a stitched church logo designed by Kim Roman of Atkinson; and holy cards marking the centennial.

A quilt designed and made by parish member Verna May, will be awarded in a raffle drawing at the June 17 chicken dinner.

Last fall the centennial committee commissioned Jim Puentes, owner/operator of COOLaserCRAFT in Rock Island, to design and create acrylic remembrance ornaments of the stained glass windows and other areas of the church.

Goebert said a token remembrance of holy water from the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Hope, in New Franken, Wis., will be distributed during the centennial celebration, “noting the appearance of Our Lady to Adele Brise in 1859.”

Adele was a Belgian immigrant, reminiscent of St. Anthony’s founding fathers.

Other memorabilia from the church’s history will be on display.

St. Anthony’s Church services began in 1870 in Atkinson in a small wooden structure, and in 1899 the cornerstone was put in place across the street from the original church building and is the location of the present church building at 204 West Main St.

On April 15, 1916, the church was destroyed by fire and a new building was constructed at the same location and was dedicated Dec. 4, 1917.

In 1949, the interior of the church was redecorated.

In 2004 the eight glass doors were replaced at the church with funds raised by the efforts of a committee of women within the church, with the support of former pastor, the late Msgr. Don J. Fitzpatrick. Their efforts made it possible to raise more than $35,000 from the sales of the committee’s cookbook, “Recipes and Recollections.”

The stained glass doors are replicas of the original church doors. Four of the large mahogany doors grace the front of the church building, with two single doors on both the east and west sides of the church.

A handicap entrance has been added to the church and the former steam boiler has been replaced with forced air heating and central air conditioning.

“We have replaced sidewalks and steps, made repairs to the exterior of the church including a new roof, tuck-pointing, some brick replacement and cleaning plus a new entrance on the east side and repairs have been done to both west side entrances,” Goebert said.

Electrical wiring has been replaced in the church and extensive repairs and renovations have been completed within the building including refurbishing the original terrazzo floors.

For more than a decade, St. Anthony’s parish has been actively involved in implementing the parish’s strategic plan, she said, and added, “We have replaced the school and old parish hall with a 7,500 square foot parish hall.”

“We need only to do some additional brick work on the south end of the church to complete the capital needs, new construction and repair part of our plan for the church,” Goebert said. “After that work is finished, we will seal and waterproof the brick and masonry exterior of the church and St. Anthony’s building will be ready for future generations.”