St. Anthony's Parish

Welcome to our parish community!

We’re very glad you’ve decided to join us.

If you haven’t already, say hi to our parish priest, Father Arsène Dutunge.  He would love to meet you.

Doors are usually open early before Mass starts, and coffee is also available after Mass on Sundays. Feel free to come up to any of our volunteers and introduce yourself. We have various ministries available in the parish so please don’t hesitate to ask any of our volunteers about ways to get connected.

Here at St. Anthony’s Parish we want to love God, to love one another, and to make the name of Jesus known.

About St. Anthony
About St. Anthony

by Lyndon Little

Saint AnthonySt. Anthony of Padua — a Franciscan friar and the patron saint after whom our parish is named — is a man worthy of serving as an inspiration to all of us for his selfless devotion to our Lord in his preaching of the gospel and service to the poor.

There is actually another famous St. Anthony celebrated by the Catholic Church — St. Anthony of Egypt, who lived about nine centuries before the one who has lent his name to our parish. When St. Anthony’s, West Vancouver, was first established as a mission in 1921 a wealthy patron from Eastern Canada requested our church be named after his favourite saint.

St. Anthony of Padua is known as one of the most celebrated followers of St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Order of St. Francis.
Our St. Anthony was born in 1195 in Lisbon into a rich and powerful Portuguese family. His life, which lasted only 36 years, can be divided into three distinct phases. He lived 15 years with his parents, 10 years as a Canon Regular of St. Augustine — primarily at Coimbra, Portugal — and 11 as a member of the Order of St. Francis.

During his time in Coimbra, Anthony was so impressed by some of the Franciscan monks who visited there before being martyred in Morocco that soon after in 1220 he asked to be allowed to join the Friars Order, taking the name by which we know him today (he had been baptized at birth as Ferdinand).

After joining the Franciscan Order, Anthony sailed for Morocco in hopes of continuing his mission with his new order. Unfortunately, he was soon struck by illness and was forced to return to Portugal. During the intended voyage home, his ship was driven by a storm onto the coast of Sicily where he remained for some time until he recovered his health.

St. Anthony eventually made his way to Assisi in Italy where his knowledge and contemplative nature attracted the attention of St. Francis himself, who chose him to teach theology to the friars in Bologna and Padua. Whether St. Anthony and St. Francis actually met face-to-face is a matter of debate among religious scholars. However, what is known is that St. Anthony was sent to France a few years later where he began preaching and teaching. It was during this period of his life that his reputation as a charismatic orator began to spread. His fame was such, it is said he drew crowds so large he often spoke in market places rather than in churches.
He was especially noted for attacking the vices of luxury, avarice and heresy. It was his particular condemnation of the last vice that earned him the reputation as “The Hammer of the Heretics.”

Sadly, St. Anthony’s time on earth wasn’t lengthy. After the death of St. Francis in October of 1226, he returned to Italy from France where he was elected provincial minister of Emillia. At the end of Lent, 1231, St. Anthony was himself struck by a severe illness and died on June 13.

Best known for his CPP skills — hearing confession, preaching and prayer, his sole professed aim was to meet God as soon as possible, beginning with his wish to be martyred in Morocco. It turns out he had to wait longer than he had hoped because God had other plans for him. He at last achieved his goal when he passed away in Arcella —a short distance from his beloved Padua. One of the friars who was travelling with him asked Anthony what he was staring at so intently, he answered: “I see my Lord.” He died in peace a short time after that.

The measure of St. Anthony’s standing in the church is demonstrated in his canonization by Pope Gregory IX on May 30, 1232, less than a year after his death. The spreading of his fame was aided through the evangelical efforts of the Portuguese, who took news of his good works with them to the New World, most particularly to Brazil. He was also named a Doctor of the Church by Pius XII in 1946.

Since the 17th century, St. Anthony’s name has been frequently invoked as the finder of lost articles. As well, his devotion to the poor was honoured by the 19th century institution of St. Anthony’s Bread. This charity — devoted to the relief of the starving and needy — still flourishes, especially in Third World countries. In Sicily, huge loaves in the shape of a crown are baked on his Feast Day, June 13.

The life of St. Anthony can perhaps be best summed up by a paragraph written by Leonard Foley O.F.M. in his excellent “A Short Life of St. Anthony of Padua.”

Foley wrote:
“Anthony was a simple and humble friar who preached the Good News lovingly and with fearless courage. The youth whom his fellow friars thought was uneducated became one of the great preachers and theologians of his day. He was a man of great penance and apostolic zeal. But he was primarily a saint of the people.”

History of St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Parish
History of St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Parish

By Patrick Raynard

St. Anthony's Parish The Roman Catholic presence on the North Shore began almost 160 years ago when the Oblate Missionaries and Chief Snatt of the Squamish First Nation built a mission chapel in what is now North Vancouver. The 1866 building was renovated in 1909 and renamed St. Paul’s in honour of Vancouver Bishop Paul Durieu.

West Vancouver was born from a cluster of summer cabins that were built at Ambleside Beach in the 1880s, following the building of the first lighthouse at Point Atkinson in 1875. The population grew after a ferry connected Vancouver to the foot of Lonsdale in 1890 and Ambleside in 1910. West Vancouver became a municipality in 1912, with a population of 1,500, but Catholic residents had to travel to North Vancouver until one of the Oblates started celebrating Mass in the Ambleside cabins in 1915. Around this time building lots in West Vancouver sold for $450.

As West Vancouver’s Catholics grew in number, their need for larger Mass locations took them from Ambleside Hall to a Dundarave building later known as Sager’s Maple Shop and from there to the Clachan Hotel at the foot of 25th Street (which became Peppi’s Restaurant and is now the Beach House.) Catholic children took the Pacific Great Eastern (PGE) train to North Vancouver and walked up to St. Edmund’s parish where the Sisters of the Child Jesus taught them Catechism and prepared them for the Sacraments.

In 1920, West Vancouver’s 20 Catholic families petitioned Bishop Timothy Casey for a church of their own. He responded by sending an Oblate from St. Paul’s, Father W. Brabender, to establish a mission parish and to start plans for a building at the confluence of Inglewood and Haywood Avenues (where the present church stands); the far-sighted Archdiocese had purchased a property there in 1912. An anonymous wealthy donor from Eastern Canada asked that the parish be named after St. Anthony of Padua.

Father Brabender celebrated the first Mass in the incomplete new church in the early 1920s. The building held 150 people; the Squamish First Nation donated most of the furniture, the sacred vessels, and the bell. In 1924 Bishop Timothy Casey elevated the mission to the status of a full parish, thanked the Oblates for their services, and appointed Father Alex McDonald as the first official pastor. There being no rectory, Father McDonald roomed in the Clachan Hotel.

The next pastor was Father John Kelley, on loan from a diocese in New Mexico, who operated from his sister’s home on Haywood Avenue. His greatest challenge was heating the entire church from one wood-burning stove; he never succeeded and delivered his winter homilies wrapped in a woollen blanket. Because of the Archdiocese’s shortage of priests during the Depression, the Irish-born Father Daniel Carey was brought in from missionary work in China in 1930 to minister to St. Anthony’s Parish. Father Carey motivated the 18 members of the Ladies Altar Society to form themselves into the new parish chapter of the Catholic Women’s League.

During the Depression and Second World War, four pastors served the growing parish. Father James Flanagan had the basement finished in 1933; Father W. J. Millay of the Order of the Premonstratensians (known as the Norbertines) bought the next-door house which still serves as the Rectory; and Father A. B. Van de Grevel, a committed educator and also a Norbertine, had the Sisters of the Child Jesus driven over from North Vancouver to teach Catechism between Sunday Masses. He also started work towards establishing a Catholic elementary school. Father N.J. Windt (St. Anthony’s last Norbertine) further sharpened the parish’s focus on education.

The arrival of Monsignor Leo Hobson in 1947 launched the post-war era at St. Anthony’s Parish. Canada’s unprecedented boom was reflected in West Vancouver’s burgeoning population of Catholics who were anxious to see their children educated in the faith. In 1952 Monsignor Hobson hired contractor Gerald Hanssen, Vini Fitzgerald’s father, to oversee the dismantling of the old church and the building of the new one. During the construction Monsignor Hobson held Masses in the Optimist Hall beside Sager’s Maple Shop.

Monsignor Hobson’s considerable work toward the building of a Catholic elementary school was taken up by Father Dermot McInerney in 1956. The original St. Anthony’s School, in its present location on Keith Road, was contracted and paid for entirely by St. Anthony’s parishioners. SAS began classes in September 1958 for 110 pupils from Grades 1 to 5. Acting as principal, Father McInerny brought the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peterborough from Ontario in 1959 to help the lay teachers and to administer the school. In 1961 the facility was expanded and a convent for the Sisters was built on the property.

In the late 1950s Father McInerny and parishioners also helped establish St. Thomas Aquinas Regional Secondary School, located beside the Sisters of the Child Jesus convent in North Vancouver.

When Father John Stewart arrived at St. Anthony’s Parish in 1963, there were more than 2,000 parishioners plus 250 students at St. Anthony’s School, which now included Grade 8. Masses had to be held at the school, the church and a rented hall in Horseshoe Bay. Father Stewart’s larger responsibilities in the archdiocese required the installation of assistant pastors for the first time. Father William Fletcher was followed by Father John Tritschler and Father P. Kenny.

In 1971 Father Stewart was replaced by Monsignor J.E. Brown, whose many challenges included an enormous debt, Mass celebrations as far west as Lions Bay, and the departure of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Monsignor Brown invited the Sisters of St. Ann to help run the school for a time but he had to sell the convent to help pay the debt. His involvement with the archdiocesan Bingo program and Project Advance finally turned the finances around and enabled the parish to begin a capital fund. Monsignor Brown also enjoyed the assistance of Fathers Terry Larkin and William Ashley, plus Deacon Kazimir Chomko.

In 1982, Monsignor Peter Mallon came from Holy Rosary Cathedral to take on his first parish. His heavy duties with the archdiocese required the parish assistance of Fathers Craig Scott, Stanley Galvon, and Alan Boisclair, and Deacons John McCarthy, Gary Franken and Eric McKechnie. Monsignor Mallon richly enjoyed his six-year pastorate at St. Anthony’s. His quiet wisdom and nurturing strength generated enormous growth in the spiritual life of the parish and school. He was also a man of vision who motivated the planning of Christ the Redeemer Parish, a project he would not see to completion because he was appointed Bishop of Nelson in 1989 (then served as Archbishop of Regina from 1995 until 2005.)

The next pastor, Father Timothy McCarthy, took on the complicated task of pastoring St. Anthony’s Parish, completing Christ the Redeemer Church and Rectory on the St. Anthony’s School property, and supervising assistants Father Larry Holland, Father Vincent Hawkswell, and Deacon Paul Chu. Father McCarthy also organized the Knights of Columbus at St. Anthony’s Parish. In November 1993, Father Timothy McCarthy became the pastor of Christ the Redeemer. Father Hawkswell replaced him as pastor of St. Anthony’s Parish while serving as editor of The B.C. Catholic newspaper. Father Raymond Campeau of the White Fathers assisted Father Hawkswell.

Father John McCarthy, who had been ordained in 1987, returned to the parish as pastor in 1997. During his seven-year pastorate he worked successfully to draw the congregation into the spiritual and administrative life of the parish. He also presided over the biggest renovation in 50 years: a large addition to the western end of the building; a complete overhaul of the parish hall; and an updating of the Rectory.

By this time, St. Anthony’s School had become the shared responsibility of both parishes, which together raised funds for the state-of-the-art $5-million school that began operations in September 2004. One month earlier, however, Father John McCarthy was assigned to another parish and was replaced by Father Ian Stuart, who renewed the parish’s emphasis on liturgy and strengthened the parish’s link to both SAS and STA schools. Father Stuart also had the Corpus and stained glass window in the sanctuary installed.

In the years since then, several more priests have been active in the parish. Father Stuart was replaced for a short term by Father John Barry from St. Edmund`s in North Vancouver. Father Joseph Le, who had become resident in the parish while serving as Defender of the Bond at the Marriage Tribunal, administered the parish until the arrival of the new pastor, Father Gary Franken, in the summer of 2011.

Father Franken began his 12-year pastorate by gathering parishioners to develop a long-range plan for the faith community as it moved fully into the 21st century.

He hired a professional facilitator, Kyle Neilson from the Evangelium Consulting Group, to help with the formation of a Parish Leadership Team. The PLT was augmented by an energized finance council and building council, plus office staff who modernized the day-to-day administration. Father Franken also initiated such formation programs as Lectio Divina, Alpha, Life in the Spirit, and the CCO Faith Discovery series.

With the considerable help of parishioners, Father Franken also undertook significant updates to the parish hall kitchen, the installation of new pews, upgrades to the Rectory and the parish gardens including an irrigation system, and the repainting of the church’s exterior. He also launched a review of the seismic state of the building.

The COVID pandemic, starting in March 2020, was one of the biggest spiritual challenges in the history of the parish, forcing Father Franken and his assistants to distribute Holy Communion in the parking lot and make several other sacramental arrangements. Masses were live-streamed and posted on the parish website, enabling the 400 parishioners to participate from home.

Father Franken’s additional duties as Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Vancouver required the help of two more priests and a deacon. Father Larry Lynn assisted from 2016 to 2019 and Deacon Tony Gray was ordained in 2017. Father Craig Scott, who assisted from 2019 to 2023, initiated a faith study program and the Seder Meal and revitalized the Rectory garden. He also enlarged the Christmas Nativity, using his own collection of artifacts.

In late 2022 His Holiness Pope Francis appointed Father Gary Franken Bishop of St. Paul, Alberta, north of Edmonton. Twenty St. Anthony’s parishioners travelled to St. Paul for his ordination.

Father Paul Goo became parish administrator until he was assigned to Christ the Redeemer parish as full pastor in the summer of 2023. He handed St. Anthony’s parish over to Father Wilfred Gomes from Chilliwack, who served from July to October, at which point Father Vincent Hawkswell took over as administrator. In April 2024, the Archdiocese announced that Father Arsene Dutunge would become the new pastor effective July 11, 2024.

As we celebrate a century of God’s work in West Vancouver, St. Anthony’s Parish continues to attract a broad demographic of Roman Catholics of all age groups and from all over the world, who have come to make the parish their spiritual home.

Patrick Raynard is a lifelong member of St. Anthony’s Parish

Our Beliefs
Our Beliefs

St. Anthony's ParishWe believe in Jesus Christ. 

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, sent to mankind by the Father, so that we may all have everlasting life. We believe that Jesus walked here on earth, just like you and me. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was born of the Virgin Mary in a humble manger in Bethlehem. We believe in the Incarnation – that God was made man without ceasing to be God. Thus He is true God and true man. This man is Jesus Christ. Through Him we are called to be heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus is the second person of the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

We have Good News.

God created the heavens and the earth, and all who live in it. As His sons and daughters, we were created to be in relationship with Him forever in paradise. However, through the fault of our first parents, Adam and Eve, sin entered and broke our relationship with God. This created a great divide between us, a barrier that we can never fix on our own. Because of this, God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to reconcile us to Him. Jesus was condemned to suffer for our sake — leading to His death on the cross. His death bore our sin and shame and through this one act of love He fixed the broken relationship between us and the Father. We believe that Jesus died and went to the grave, and that in three days He rose again in glory.  Through His death and resurrection, He conquered sin. His victory over death is our hope and our salvation. Through Christ we can rise again and through Him we are invited into the heavenly inheritance that awaits us. This is the Gospel or the Good News as we call it. However, it does not end there. The Good News is about hope and the invitation that follows it. It is an invitation to get to know the person of Jesus Christ, in whom we place our trust. It is an invitation to say yes to Him and to encounter the Church.

We belong to a very big family. 

During His time on earth, Jesus moved the hearts of many followers. He especially transformed 12 Apostles that He called by name and gave them authority to take care of the Church that He started on Earth. Jesus promised His believers that when He returns to Heaven, He will send for us an advocate. On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down to the early Church giving courage to the apostles to become fearless and courageous witnesses to Christ. On this day, the Church was born. The Holy Spirit broke down ethnic and linguistic barriers and united the Church, making us into a universal family. We are called the Catholic Church because, in Greek, the term katholikos (καθολικός) means “universal”.

Over 2,000 years later, the Catholic Church is now a family of over 1.2 billion people around the world. We are made up of people from all walks of life, called to different vocations, but with a simple mission: to love God and to love others.

Mass Times

Saturday: 4:30 pm
(anticipatory Mass)
Sunday: 8:30 am and 10:30 am

Monday to Saturday: 9:00 am
First Friday: 6:30 pm


Monday to Saturday: 8:30 am to 8:50 am
Saturday: 3:30 pm to 4:15 pm

Adoration Hours

Friday: 9:30 am to 4:00 pm

First Friday:
9:30 am to 4:00 pm, 7:00pm – 8:00 am

Parish Holy Hour:
7:00 pm to 8:00 pm on First Friday
Sign-up sheets located in vestibule.

Friday: 4:00 pm

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Our Team

Fr. Arsène Dutunge

Fr. Arsène Dutunge


Deacon Tony Gray


Ting Yupangco


Anna K

Parish Administration

Elizabeth Bell


Fr Hawkswell

Winfred van der Sande

Leadership Team

Giovanni Bitelli

Leadership Team

Christine Oberti

Leadership Team

Elisabeth Holman

Leadership Team

Susan Murphy

Leadership Team

From around the Archdiocese...

Articles from BC Catholic – a weekly publication serving the needs of the Catholic community in BC – the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Vancouver. And Behold Vancouver – a place to ask questions, connect with others, and discover more of God – an initiative by the Archdiocese of Vancouver.