ABOUT OUR PARISH
I always have a sense of awe and humility when I try to tell people who we are and what St. Anthony Indian Mission is all about. Humility when I recognize that I am but the latest pastor at St. Anthony’s in a line stretching as far back as circa 1629. The “Old Mission” was dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe and was established at Halona in the center of what is now the Zuni Pueblo. I stand in awe of the men and women who labored tirelessly amid the many hardships to establish this Christian presence in the southwest.
The present St. Anthony Mission is the successor to that early mission which was made possible by the generosity of two ladies. Mrs. Grassley provided the funds for the building of the church. Ms. Pudom, of the Osage tribe, provided for the school. Both specifically requested that the mission be placed under the patronage of St. Anthony of Padua.
The grant of the leased land by the department of the interior states that the purpose is to provide for the education of the young and provide employment for the local population. The Mission was formally dedicated in August 1923 and the school opened it’s doors to students on the 3rd of September 1923.
ST. ANTHONY’S INDIAN SCHOOL has been serving the Zuni community for nearly 100 years. The Sisters of Saint Francis of Perpetual Adoration started to run and operate the school on September 3, 1923 with 43 students. St. Anthony aims successfully to equip its alumni with the academic, moral and cultural ethos necessary for the 21st century. The school is open to students of all religious persuasions and offers a high quality education with a strong Christian Catholic ethos.
From its foundation, St. Anthony has been providing quality Catholic teaching to the people of the Zuni Pueblo. The St. Anthony Parish and School were established with the philosophy that “Catholic Faith and Education is the key for Native American youth to break the cycle of unemployment and poverty”.
The word “Charism” is an expression used to define specific gifts from the Lord given through the Institutions of the Church. Strangely that note on the lease of land to the mission neatly expresses the Charism of St. Anthony’s. For almost a century the mission has provided low cost high quality education for the residents of the pueblo. Originally education was free but in more recent years tuition fees are requested. Students at St. Anthony pay less annually than what most private schools charge per month. It should be noted however that no student has ever been turned away because of school fees.
The majority of our staff are themselves Zuni. The Zuni people are rich in an ancient cultural heritage. We bring into that tradition the Christian Gospel with its immense richness, hope and joy. We find the areas of the two that blend together and teach the young how to respect and draw on both Christian and Zuni values. We call this drawing Christ from the culture.
Economically speaking the pueblo is poor. It depends heavily on cottage industries for the most part. I do not dwell on that aspect of life here, albeit it is very real. These hard working people have a great and wonderful dignity. We try to equip our students for a more promising future that will not just be a benefit to them individually but also a benefit to their families and community.
Just as St. Anthony was in 1923 it still depends on the Lord’s blessing and on the generosity of others to meet the daily costs of maintaining the highest standards of education and of preparing the young for a bright and lasting future.
I hope that your visit to this website will give you at least a little bit of the flavor of the spirit and the joy of life found here in our school and Mission in which I am privileged to share.
Fr. Patrick McGuire | Pastor