St. Anthony of Padua Parish opened its doors in September of 1913, six months after the Great Flood which prompted Dayton’s population to shift to the hills east of the center of town. Parishioners celebrated the first Mass in the parish’s first church on Dec. 21, 1913. Rapid growth in the 1920s resulted in the need for a larger church so a structure, the present-day gymnasium, was attached to the school to serve as the church, increasing capacity from 500 to 700. In December 1952, a cornerstone was laid for the current church building to accommodate a still fast-growing parish. The first Mass in the new church was celebrated on June 13, 1954, the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua.
The parish school opened in September of 1915. Eight classrooms filled up quickly. The children were educated by the Sisters of St. Francis from Oldenburg, Indiana. Over the next several decades, more classrooms were added to meet growing enrollment. Currently, the school serves 190 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
To further serve the educational needs of area children, the parish opened a Comprehensive Child Care Center in 1982 to provide quality daycare, preschool programs, and after-school care. In 2009 a partnership was formed with the local YMCA organization to continue offering these programs at St. Anthony. The State of Ohio awarded a second STAR to the Center for meeting its Step Up to Quality standards.
There is a third building on the parish grounds, in addition to the church and school. It is the former convent which now houses the YMCA Early Learning Center, a branch of the St. Luke Credit Union (which opened in the early 1990s), and the parish office.
In the nearly 100 years that St. Anthony of Padua parish has existed, there have been many changes in the neighborhood and the parish, but our reason for being remains unchanged – spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering its sacraments and exercising charity. We are a Catholic community of believers on a common journey toward holiness who worship together and work together to bring Christ to others in love and service.