Fr. Anthony Gurnell
This text is based on information from the St. Philomene Church website, Sacramento.
Anthony Gurnell, Father Tony to us, was born on June 11, 1929 in County Cork, Ireland. Heís a miracle of sorts because at age three, during a serious illness, all hope was given up that he would live. Father not only lived but thrived. He worked at a bank in Cork for 11 years and was involved in many fun activities including directing plays, cinematography, and filming documentaries.
Despite all these many and varied interests, the thought of becoming a priest always lurked in Tonyís mind. One day an unexpected offer of a promotion in the bank changed the whole situation. He knew that he had to make a decision and prayed to the Lord for guidance. One evening he gave his boss the surprise of his life by telling him that he could not accept the promotion as he was planning to enter the seminary!
Tony arrived in America as a newly ordained priest in 1964. His first assignment was St. Mel's Parish in Fair Oaks. He spent three years at St. Melís; three years at Presentation Church, and three years at Fort Jones. He was pastor at Fort Jones, where he officiated at four churches, three Mass stations, and two prison camps. He served as pastor of St. Peterís Parish for eleven years and then moved to St. Patrick Church in Placerville where he was pastor for eleven years. In those days the parish in Placerville encompassed 3,600 square miles.
Fr. Tony retired in 1995, and died on July 5, 2007. He is interred at Mount Calvary Cemetery, Citrus Heights, CA.