The history of the St. Anthony DiPadova Society traces its roots back to the Grays Ferry section of Philadelphia in the early parts of the twentieth century where many of the founders of the Society originated and previously immigrated. As the area of Southwest Philadelphia was being developed many first-generation Italian immigrants began to move into the newly developing area from Grays Ferry and other parts of South Philadelphia. As a result of the Italian community beginning to build in Southwest Philadelphia, the St. Anthony DiPadova Society was formally incorporated and born. As a result of the Italian community beginning to build in Southwest Philadelphia, the St. Anthony DiPadova Society was formally incorporated and born. The Society was founded by 21 first generation Italian immigrants whose names are:
Feliciano A. Cerone
The purpose of the Society was for its members to gather fraternally in a civic spirit to foster and propagate fraternal principles which will help and aide it’s members in case of death or disability. These principles were important to these first-generation immigrants as they were foreign to this new land (US), foreign to the new area where they wanted to settle and raise their families, wanted to maintain their customs and traditions which they brought from the old country. Members would pay dues; the dues would assist them and their families during stressful times as death and sickness with them and/or their families. One facet of this was in the celebration of their Feast Days. To this end the St. Anthony Society’s Charter required all members to participate in preparation and celebration of the Feast Day in honor of their Patron, St. Anthony DiPadova.
Replete with Italian Marching Bands, music, Solemn Mass and Procession, the St. Anthony DiPadova Society began to make its mark in the area. The St. Anthony DiPadova Society subsequently moved its religious celebration to Our Lady of Loreto Parish and remained there for many years. The Parish Church of Our Lady of Loreto closed in June, 2003 and since then the Feast of St. Anthony has found its home at various parishes in Delaware County including most recently at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Media, Pa. Membership and participation of membership has increased over the years and the St. Anthony Society continues with new and improved activities each year which now include, Italian Night, held each March, Golf Outing in September and of course the Feast of St. Anthony, still held in June. In addition, money raised for all the events are distributed to the Church where the celebration of the Feast is held, other Churches in the area, Seminaries and the needy during the holidays. We continue to uphold the tenets of the Society and its members and are fortunate to be able to keep the rich and unique tradition of celebrating St. Anthony to the community.