Our History: WE are a OLD Church with a NEW Heart

Our usual Meeting place is St. Anthony’s Chapel, which was part of a Franciscan seminary founded in 1880.(  We also meet on Zoom.)  It was dedicated on the Feast of Christ the King so it is sometimes known by that name also. 

Our present community had its origins in the new inclusivity and creativity sparked by the Vatican II Council. In that spirit, the Franciscans decided to open their doors to the wider Santa Barbara community for Sunday Mass. At the time, many Catholics were seeking a community where they could live out the Vatican II’s call for reform, and St. Anthony’s was just such a place. 

After Vatican II, the seminary evolved into a high school for young men considering a call to the Franciscan way of life.  Even though the high school seminary closed in 1987, due to a major sexual abuse scandal, (See:  Number of Franciscan Priests Accused of Abuse Grows by nine: 

the chapel remained open to the faithful of Santa Barbara for Sunday mass and the major feast days.  When the property was sold to San Roque School in 2004, the Franciscan priests at the Old Mission continued to minister to the community. 

Fr. Leo Spreitsma OFM served the St. Anthony Community until he retired, for health reasons, in 2010. He went back to God the weekend of May 15, 2020.  2010 was a turning point for the Community, as the Franciscans at the Old Mission could no longer provide a priest to celebrate the Eucharist with us, which was over 300 at the time.Rather than disband, the members of the community chose to continue to worship under the leadership of two Married Catholic Priests who were members of St. Anthony’s at the time. 

Fr. John Fr. Keith Fr. Dudley Fr. Gene Baum

Keith Forester, John Hydar and Dudley Connelly were blessed by Fr. Leo and the Saint Anthony’s community to continue to serve the Eucharistic and Sacramental needs of the people.    Gene Baum were blessed later by the Community to assist with Mass and Visiting the sick.   These decisions was not taken lightly.  As baptized and active Roman Catholics we knew it would put us in conflict with the official Catholic church at the time. However it gave us the freedom to become a New Model of Church/church that Vatican II was making possible.  St. Anthony’s is living it’s future as an independent “Intentional Eucharistic Community,” seeking to express the love of Jesus in all that we do. Fr. Leo supported this decision and gave his blessing to our married priests on his final Sunday with us.  Since then, we called forward (September 2017) an  Married Ordained woman priest from the Church of Antioch* with over 20 years experience  in Roman Catholic Campus Ministry serving in the Los Angeles Archdiocese at UCLA and Occidental College and Alverno High School.  She and Dudley are currently co-pastoring the community after the passing of John Hydar, Keith Forester, and Gene Baum.  Please read:  “The Other Catholics: Remaking America’s Largest Religion.”  Author:  Julie Byrne.) *Other Catholics have served for centuries as ordained married men and women to serve the needs of people who desire an Old Church with a New Heart.  God called Fr. John, Keith and Gene back home between 2016 and 2020.

Fr. Dudley is a Maryknoll married priest and the Father of eight children and Grandfather of…(we have lost count).  Rev. Cynthia Yoshitomi joined St. Anthony’s Catholic Community as a Deacon (Ordained by Roman Catholic Priests in 2013) in 2015 and was Ordained as a priest in the Church of Antioch Tradition in September 2017.  She is married and mother of two children and Grandmother to three.  She served for twenty years as a Campus Minister in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles–Occidental College–Alverno High School–and University Catholic Center at UCLA. 

History of our Breadbaking Ministry:

On Fri, Dec 11, 2020 at 7:21 AM Jane Fehrenbacher wrote:

Wonderful! Thank you Mary for the many years of leading a way to  participate in the liturgy. I especially appreciate the bit of history you shared.  I have felt honored by being able to be a bread baker.
It was Mary Jane who showed me how in her kitchen and it is a memory I will never forget.
How lovely that Ingrid will be the newly “ordained” coordinator!
On Thu, Dec 10, 2020 at 12:49 PM Mary Heumphreus wrote:

Hi, Jane and Cindy

Elaine Yastashock and I began the ministry on January 15, 1994 with a bakingand testing session in my kitchen.  12 bakers attended.  When we tested the bread, I read the passage from I Corinthians 11:24.  We all broke out in goosebumps as we broke the bread.  Spirit was moving.  It was a defining moment for all of us.
I’m sure you both share my joy and relief that the baton has been passed to Ingrid.
I’d like to let my bakers know, but wanted you to be informed first.  In this year of change and growth, so does our community.
Love and blessings and leavened bread!
Mary H