History of Place
The history of Christ’s presence here in the St. Anthony boundaries includes the persons who have gone before us, and those who are to come. All continue to participate in this eternal work of grace.
St. Anthony's was not begun in the usual way. In the 1890's, most parishes were founded by immigrants from Europe. Catholics were flooding cities throughout the eastern United States in those days. They built churches and schools to serve their neighborhoods. Brookland of 1891 was barely a village, well out of the city, surrounded by woods and farms. You might guess that Catholic University, founded in 1889, had something to do with the founding of our parish, and it did, but not in the usual way. Lay faculty who lived in the neighborhood received the sacraments at the university. Brookland's scattered Catholic population probably could have managed without it's own parish for some time, except for the unusual devotion of one woman: Antoniette Margot. She founded our parish and devoted her life to it. Antoinette Margot's devotion to God and the Eucharist led her to build a house and give it to the Lord. She named the house Theodoron.
On Sept. 19, 1891, the first Mass was said at Theodoron. Fr. James F. Mackin was the celebrant. Fr. Henri Hyvernat, a friend of Antoniette, and like her, a native of Lyons, France, was the unofficial pastor. He celebrated the first Benediction on April 17, 1892 and baptized the first parishioner, a baby, Thomas Francis Fitzpatrick on May 18, 1892. In August, Fr. Hyvernat directed the first of what would become a traditional fund raiser at St. Anthony's for the next 20 years- a lawn party. At this fund raiser, food and bric-a-brac were sold and $859 was raised. He took the money and bought the tract of land on which our present church stands.
In September of 1892, Fr. Desire DeWulf was appointed the first official pastor of St. Anthony's. Fr. Hyvernat continued on as his unofficial assistant. Little is written about Rev. DeWulf but during his tenure the first wood frame church was built. It was dedicated on St. Anthony's feast day, June 13, 1896. The new parish was called St. Anthony's at Cardinal Gibbon's suggestion in honor of Miss Antoinette Margot.
The years from 1920-1940 were a time of continued growth for the parish, particularly for the physical plant. The present hall was built in 1920, the first school building in 1922, and the second school building in 1927. St. Anthony's High School was established in 1928. The current church building was constructed in 1939. -excerpted from St. Anthony's of Brookland, a Centennial Celebration 1892-1992.
-Alumni and caring patrons of St. Anthony's School