Parish History

A Brief History of Saint Anthony Parish, Sterling, CO first Catholic Mission in Sterling was established by Father William Howlett in May, 1888, and Mass was celebrated on the first Sunday of each month in the home of Patrick Fleming.


Father Howlett drew up plans to build a church on Walnut Street. The church was dedicated on June 24, 1888, and named St. John the Baptist Church.  In 1896, the church was destroyed by high winds or a twister.



A church building was then purchased at North 5th and Chestnut in 1902.  Saint John the Baptist remained a mission church of Saint Augustine Parish in Brighton until 1908, when the mission was elevated to a parish by Bishop Matz.  Father P.U. Sasse was appointed the first pastor on September 9, 1908. were begun to build a new church at South 3rd and Cedar in 1909.  Construction on the church began on April 2, 1911.  On November 5, 1911, the new church was dedicated. The name St.’s was chosen in honor of the patron saint of Anthony Giacomini, a church member, and one of Sterling’s oldest settlers. 



A rectory was completed in 1914.





                                                                                            Text Box: 1915
The priests of Saint Anthony’s served a large mission community including:  Saint Peter Mission in Fleming, Saint Patrick Mission in Holyoke, Saint Mary Mission in  Messex, Saint Catherine of Siena Mission in Iliff, Sacred Heart Mission in Peetz, Saint John Mission in Stoneham, and Saint Peter Mission in Crook.       

Text Box: Sisters’ Convent	                     Bronson Hall                  Newman Hall
Carroll Hall,1st High School	      Russian School            Yankee School


In September 1918, Saint Anthony School was opened for 150 students in 1st through 8th grade, located across the street from the Rectory.  The parish had a dream for the school to go up to the 12th grade.  In 1920, Fr. Sasse purchased Judge Hinkley’s old residence for the nuns and the old convent was converted into a high school in 1921. 

During the 1930s and 40s, German students from Russia were educated in the “Russian School” and all other students were educated in the “Yankee School”.  The German children needed to work during the beet harvest; thus, their school year was shortened.  The schools were combined in 1940.

 In 1934, a new high school was constructed.



 In 1950, a new grade school and gymnasium were also added.  In 1970, the 7th through 12th grades closed and the school continued with kindergarten through 6th grade.



In 1973, the church sanctuary was remodeled.  The large crucifix corpus, retained from the original church, was re-designed in tones to match the other carvings in the newly remodeled  church.

 1982, Saint Anthony Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places.  Saint Anthony School once again added a 7th grade in 1998 and an 8th grade was added in 1999.  The 100th anniversary of Saint Anthony Church and the 75th anniversary of Saint Anthony School were both celebrated all year long during 2008.


In 2012, the sanctuary of the church was remodeled.


After 97 years of educating children in the Sterling area, Saint Anthony’s School closed in 2015. The building is now the Parish Center, where staff offices, meeting rooms and rooms for faith formation of children through adults are held.


The parish completed a remodel of the church in 2016, with the leadership of Father Michael Bodzioch, who currently serves as pastor, and Fr. Herman Nsubuga, who serves as parochial vicar of Saint Anthony.  Both priests also serve Saint Catherine in Iliff, and Sacred Heart in Peetz.

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