Longview Church Celebrates Milestone

A Longview church celebrated a milestone today.  In a ceremony filled with tradition and pageantry, Longview's St. Anthony's Catholic Church marked its 125th anniversary.

"It was sort of like a pageantry an integration of cultures, and I think this is overwhelming, wonderful," said parishioner Victoria Wilson-Blackaller.

Believed to have been started as a mission by Irish railroad workers, the church has survived and flourished even during hard times.

"They've had some rough times, especially during the depression and those years.  But they survived because they had very good parishioners here," said church deacon Joe Pipak.

The ceremony was marked by Native American dance, and words of praise from the church hierarchy.

"One-hundred-twenty-five years of men and women being born, baptized, going to school, receiving their Catholic education -- an affirmation of who we are and who we have been," said bishop Alvara Corrado.

Now attended by people of all races, for many the celebration was a testament to the remarkable diversity of parishioners.

More than 500 people attended today's celebration, which was held on the very spot where the first church was built.

Bob Hallmark reporting, bhallmark@kltv.com