The inhabitants of the township of Heusden had been hoping and asking for their own church for a long time, when they decided to found a “Cooperative Store”.
The driving force was Mr. L. Koppens. He raised the money to construct a school and a church. The school was to be finished in September 1919. However, from that moment on, the absence of a church started to become more evident.
The inauguration of priest Arnold on December 13, 1920 was met with an overwhelmingly joyous response. The chaplain of Asten was appointed by the bishop of Den Bosch, Mgr. A. Diepen, as head of construction for the new parish of Heusden. On December 12, 1920, the letter of foundation was read in the church in Asten during the Holy Mass.
The new church was to be named the Church of the holy Antonius of Padua. The border with the parish of Asten would be the river the Small Aa. The church would be constructed next to the Catholic school. Two architects had come forth for the job, which would eventually go to Vostermans from Oss. Construction started on Tuesday January 4, 1921. The farmers would do most of the ground work, using horses and carts. Heusden was split up into 4 quarters and from those quarters, 61 carts were sent to help during construction. After the ground work, the actual construction started, on Monday March 7. The vicarage was built first, due to a lack of stone. Priest Arnold waited to purchase the necessary stone until somewhere in May: “Stone will be much cheaper then”, he wrote in his notes. On Monday March 14, the concrete was poured for the foundations of the church. Construction went on without any problems and the weather stayed beautiful during the entire construction process. The church was built in record time and on Wednesday October 21, 1921, Priest Arnold consecrated the church and the cemetery. The first Holy Mass would be held one day later, on October 27 at 9 AM.
It was a great feast. The total construction cost amounted to fl. 94,897.86, which was financed as follows: the community of Asten paid fl. 35,000.00, extra donations of fl. 2,598.70 and a bank loan of fl. 57,299.16. On Monday August 18, 1924, the church was solemnly consecrated by Mgr. A. Diepen, bishop of Den Bosch. The entire parish was beautifully decorated and there was a full day of festivities planned. Unfortunately, the day was ruined by the terrible weather conditions on that day.
Master builder / priest J.M.A.M. Arnold. Born 1882 – Died 1951 Priest in Heusden 13 December 1920 – 27 January 1951 (died). His prayer card reads “For God, I built a house, where He shall live. May He always listen to the prayers that His people send Him from this place”.
Priests: J.M.A.M. Arnold: Dec. 1920 – Jan. 1951, P. Klaassen: Feb. 1951 – July 1959, C.A. van Roestel: Aug. 1959 – Dec. 1969, G.P. Rooymans: Jan. 1970 – Sept. 1986, A.J. van Steen: Nov. 1986 tot Dec. 2006.
Chaplains: J.J.P. Goossens: Aug. 1945 – Aug. 1948, J.C. van Gastel: Aug. 1948 – Aug. 1950, F.A.J.G. van Hooff: Aug. 1950 – Oct. 1956, J. Peijnenburg: Oct. 1956 – July 1959.
Besides various weekend assistants to the priests, the parish of Asten has also had a resident assistant by the name of Father W.J. Mol, from the Fathers of Mill Hill, between August 1965 and October 1968. From its foundation in 1920 to July 1979, the parish was governed by a church council.
The churchwardens were: Mr. J. van Heugten, Mr. A. Sauvé, Mr. L. van Tilburg and Mr. L. Koppens. From June 3, 1975 to July 1, 1979, the church administration was assisted by the Parochial Workgroup. Since July 1, 1979, the parish has a new form of government, namely a parish congregation, consisting of about 15 members, 6 six of whom form the parish council.
On September 1, 2002, the Pastoral Unity of Asten was founded to function as a common council for the region’s parishes. From that moment on, Heusden has its own Pastoral District Council. The chairman of this district council is also a board member at the Pastoral Unity of Asten. On December 1, 2006, the parish of Heusden was disbanded and all the parishes in the region were joined together in the parish of Asten: the Roman Catholic Angelus Parish.