Bishop dedicates St. Anthony’s new community center

HARLINGEN — Bishop Daniel Flores, his cream-colored vestments waving lightly in the wind, raised his hand high to sprinkle holy water.

Flores was blessing the St. Anthony Community Center before a large crowd. A ceremony leading up to the blessing and sprinkling of holy water yesterday morning included statements by Flores, Mayor Chris Boswell and the Rev. Luis Tinajero.

They all shared their thoughts about the new $3.2 million school. The 13,000-square-foot expansion consists of several new classrooms plus a gymnasium, kitchen and classroom technology.

Flores welcomed those in attendance.

“Thank you so much for coming and gathering for this dedication,” Flores said. “We pray that the word of God will always echo from these walls.”

Boswell spoke about the role churches play in a city’s success.

“This is about service to God,” said Boswell. “I commend you. I can’t express my admiration enough for what you have done.”

Parishioners were equally grateful.

“This is a very special event for the city of Harlingen and the community,” said Joe Reyna, who has a sixth grader at St. Anthony’s school.

“All the students who come here to this school, they are blessed to have all the new equipment,” Reyna said. “They’ve got a beautiful gym to play their sports and events.”

A man stepped forward to read some scriptures from the book of Matthew.

“You are the light of the world,” he read. “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Flores said the new school was possible because of the work so many good people put into it.

“It’s how a community makes it possible for people to be together and learn together,” Flores said. “It’s caring about each other and being concerned about what happens to our neighborhoods. We are here for each other. It’s a joy to serve.”

He then turned, holding his staff in his left hand, and raised high his aspergillum — a handle with a perforated sphere used for sprinkling holy water. He walked down a breezeway, tossing holy water into the air as a crowd followed him into the school.

The project is the first time the church has added to the school and main building in 75 years.

“It’s going to expand our abilities to help our students with the means to have a good quality Catholic education,” said the Rev. Larry Klein, pastor or St. Anthony’s Catholic Church.

The building is fitted with all the latest technology.

“It is National Catholic Schools Week. We wanted to share and promote the joy of Catholic education,” he said.

“We are pleased and blessed to have the school here in the city that offers a Catholic education to the whole area of the Valley.”

rgarcia@valleystar.com