Saint Anthony's Catholic Church closes after 134 years

Published: Apr. 30, 2019 at 6:44 PM CDT
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The Saint Anthony Catholic Church has been a part of Bristol since 1885.

"It's a church that serves that area and all their relatives, especially that farming community," said Reverend Mike Kelly.

Reverend Mike Kelly has been with the church for the past eleven years.

"I know the people, and they know me; it's a comfortable fit," Kelly said.

In recent years the number of people attending has dropped, and on Saturday the church held it's final mass. Members of the church that have been coming here for decades now have to find a new home.

"Before us Bob's parents and Grandparents went to church here," said Marian and Robert Grode.

Marian and Robert Grode have been coming for the past 63 years.

Seeing the doors close one last time has been very emotional for them.

"it's kind of like losing the family," said Marian Grode.

"It's a letdown, but that's life, I guess we have to accept what's in the future," Robert Grode said.

That future for the Grode's and others will be following Reverend Mike Kelly.

"I plan to go over to Groton as long as Father Mike is over there," said Mary Anne Bartell.

That's something Reverend Kelly is happy to hear, but he's more happy the Bristol church received a proper farewell.

"The emotional thing was having the elderly people come up to the alter of sacrifice, and kiss it and hug it as they were leaving the church," Kelly said.

The church was originally going to close a few years ago, but was able to add on an extra eight years when Reverend Michael Kelly decided to continue serving there. The building will now be demolished during the first week of June.