All Hallows &  Saint Peter's Parish  

All Hallows Church, St. Peter Church (a mission of All Hallows Church),  and Cristo Rey High School 

City of the Blessed Sacrament, California - Ciudad de Santissimo Sacramento, California


Rev. Anthony Gurnell, 1929 to 2007, requiescat in pacem, Pastor, St. Peter Parish, 1975 to 1983.

IHMs at work in the classroom, 1966.

In 1955, reflecting growth to the south, St. Peter Parish was carved from All Hallows Parish - which once extended 20 miles east to Sloughouse and 7 miles south to Florin. St. Peter School opened soon after, staffed by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Sister Mary Carmelita, IHM, served as principal and superior.

The "IHMs" last year at the school was 1970.  The Order was profoundly affected by Vatican II, and their departure from St. Peter was part of a far larger conflict between then Cardinal James McIntyre, Archbishop of Los Angeles, and Sister Anita Caspary (Humiliata), then the IHM Major Superior.  The California Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary no longer exist as a canonical congregation.  The Immaculate Heart Community is its non-traditional successor, carrying on various works in education, such as Immaculate Heart High School, Los Angeles, and social justice.

The "IHMs" were succeeded by the Sisters Servants of the Blessed Sacrament.

The much-beloved Mrs. Roy Owens taught at St. Peter, but moved to All Hallows in 1967, for a total of over 30 years of service to south Sacramento Catholic schools. Mr. Joseph Lynn, following a remarkable tenure as Superintendent of the Sacramento City Unified School District, taught at St. Peter for 12 years.

All Hallows' former church and parish hall was physically moved to the Saint Peter site, becoming St. Peter's Parish Church. currently a Mission Church of All Hallows Parish.

Beloved Saint Peter Pastors include Monsignor James Church, Rev. Anthony Gurnell, and Rev. Sydney Hall.

Rev. Anthony Gurnell:
In Celebration of Cristo Rey High School

In 2007, Rev. Anthony Gurnell entered eternal rest. In doing so, he left his entire estate - accumulated through extraordinary thrift and an exemplary modest lifestyle - to Cristo Rey High School, located at the site of the former St. Peter Parish School. In making this gift - valued at over $250,000 - he stated that it was his life's commitment to ensure that all children who sought a Catholic education, received one. It was in part through the work of Father Gurnell that St. Peter School flourished for nearly one-half century. Now, through his generosity, a new generation of students will obtain a college preparatory education at Cristo Rey High School - a place so special to Father Gurnell.

The following obituary appeared in the Parish Bulletin Supplement on July 15, 2007:

Rev. Anthony Gurnell

Pastor, St. Peter Parish
requiescat in pacem

Fr. Anthony Gurnell, beloved former pastor of St. Peter Parish, entered into eternal rest during the week, passing peacefully from this world. Fr. Gurnell served St. Peter Parish from 1975 to 1983, part of a long line of priests from the Irish Republic in service to the Diocese of Sacramento. Fr. Gurnell is best remembered in the thoughts and reflections of his parishioners when told of his passing – these are the loving impressions spontaneously offered by those who lovingly remember him.

Consummate professional.  “Father Tony was always so neat in appearance – always in priestly dress (Roman Collar) which was definitely a plus.”

Excellent homilist.  “His sermons were excellent.”

Humanly imperfect.  “He could have been a little more patient at times.”

Intense dedication to community, parish and school.   “One family first met Father Gurnell when he knocked on their door. He was canvassing the neighborhood by foot to meet the families. They were preparing to enroll their daughter in Sacred Heart School. Fr. Tony said positively that the pastor at Sacred Heart knows we (St. Peters) have a school! The children were enrolled at St. Peters School.”

Tireless supporter of Parish Ministries.  “Hospice, Catholic Education, Eucharistic Ministry, Men’s and Women’s Clubs, Altar Society, Legion of Mary, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.”

Excellent administrator.  “Father Gurnell was tough, but always fair. A pastor with much business knowledge in finances and building a parish.”

Motivated and motivating.  “Father Gurnell was a very spiritual person, dedicated to his vocation to the priesthood. Compassionate and understanding of his parishioners. Some things seemed impossible, but Father Gurnell would say ‘By counting pennies keeping a tight budget” and “parishioners donating their time and talent, and doing the work with their own hands.’ ”

“Dedication and support of our church and school is most appreciated – Father Gurnell will be remembered.”
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