The Bennett Family:
The Bennett family moved to the Anaheim Hills area in 1974. There was not much out here as the Anaheim Hills planned community was in its very early stages. We had been parishioners of St. Joseph in Placentia before the move. Thinking we were now parishioners of St. Martin’s in Yorba Linda, we started attending there, until we found out we were actually in the St. Norber’s parish boundaries.
We had heard rumors that a Catholic church was in the planning stages. One day the doorbell rang, John opened the door, and a gentleman began talking about donations for the new church. John told him yes, and we became one of the original families of San Antonio de Padua del Canon Catholic Church.
Our family fondly attended Sunday Masses at El Rancho’s cafeteria/auditorium, sitting on the fold-up chairs and waiting patiently for the new Church to be built. We particularly remember one Palm Sunday when we and our two children (at the time) Shannon and JR, arrived extra early so we could have a good seat. Much to our surprise, just before Mass was to begin someone announced that we would all be asked to leave the building, gather outside, then be part of a procession following Father Seamus back into the building, in remembrance of Jesus’ procession on that first Palm Sunday. By the time we got back in, our good seats were now filled so we had to sit toward the back.
Our family was in attendance for the Church groundbreaking and the first Mass. John became a frequent Reader and served for many years as a Eucharistic Minister. We assisted in many Fiestas including being the chairpersons for a few booths over the years. Father Seamus always enjoyed talking to our daughter, Shannon, since she had such a strong Irish name.
John played for, and managed for a while, the San Antonio slow-pitch softball team that played at Yorba Regional Park on Sunday nights. Our power-hitting left-hander and regular player was Deacon Doug. We got to know a lot of parishioners during that time and it served as a great bonding event for the parish.
Our family has fond memories of being early parishioners. Shannon, JR, and Jeanie all attended the Sunday classes and received their First Communion. We are proud that our names are on the plaque in the back of the Church which recognizes the families and people who made the original donations to help the Church be built.