Trustees of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Lake Nebagamon broke ground for a new church Wednesday, Sept. 9, beside their parish hall.
“For over 120 years there’s been a Catholic community in Lake Nebagamon, so we’re excited to be able to continue to meet as a community, as a church and to do that in a building that meets all the safety requirements — barrier free, no steps — and uses the resources of our existing parish hall, so it’s a good stewardship of the resources that have been entrusted to our care,” said Fr. Andrew Ricci, rector for St. Anthony parish.
The church building it will replace dates back to 1900, with a basement addition in 1953. Church trustee Greg Amys said they launched a capital campaign for the $600,000 project in December and realized by April that they had the support needed to complete it.
“People have been tremendously supportive,” Ricci said. “Our parish family really came behind the project quickly and decisively and we’re excited to be able to offer that space for people to gather as church but also to serve the larger community as well.”
Amys said the cost to upgrade the 120-year-old church was not as feasible as building new, and that it had been in their long-range plans. When St. Anthony constructed a new parish hall in 2005, it was built to dovetail with a new church building in the future.
“It’s part of a long-range plan for them and they’re doing this in a way that’s really, really smart and a way that’s going to give them a real great facility for the Catholic church and also, frankly, for the community,” said Lake Nebagamon Village Board President Darrell Kyle.
Kyle, who is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, said he’s attended many community dinners, Eagle Scout events, funeral lunches and other activities at St. Anthony parish hall and was pleased to hear of the church groundbreaking.
“It is incredibly, incredibly important for us to have a strong Roman Catholic parish, and I could not be more thrilled to see them build for the future of not only the Roman Catholic church but of the faith in Lake Nebagamon,” Kyle said.
The new church will have much of the same feel and look as the current one, said St. Anthony trustee Jay Gallagher, although it will be bigger. The current church seats 120; the new one will seat 165. Many pieces of parish history will make the move to the new building, including statues, the baptismal font, the altar and the bell.
“We’re going to build a bell tower that will be identical to the one on the old church for the new building, and then we’re going to take the bell from that bell tower and locate that in the new church,” Amys said.
The Superior Diocese has been behind the project from the beginning.
The parish, which consists of roughly 80 families, plans to move to the new building in May 2021. Church leaders said parish members are encouraged by the build.
“I think there’s a lot of excitement even outside our church family that we’re doing this,” Gallagher said.
This story was updated at 12: 55 p.m. Sept. 21 with a photograph from the ground breaking ceremony. It was originally published at on Sept. 14.