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History of St. Anne Parish

St. Anne Parish was established on November 5, 1923. The first Mass was celebrated by Bishop Philip McDevitt in the convent chapel (currently the Parish Library) on Sunday, December 16, 1923.

The Gunzenhauser properties, located at 929 and 925 North Duke Street which were part of the Hartman Estate, were purchased as sites for the first church, school, convent and rectory. Mass was held in the Convent Chapel until a church could be built. The founding Pastor, Fr. Thomas McEntee, served from 1923-1946 and his Assistant Pastor was Fr. Francis Weiner. St. Anne School opened on the second floor of the convent (the current rectory) with 72 students in September 1924 with three Sisters of Mercy teaching the children. Fr. McEntee recognized the need for a combination church and school and groundbreaking for a new facility took place on June 4, 1930. The new church and school were dedicated on May 31, 1931.

When the new St. Anne School building opened in September of 1931, it had an enrollment of 136 students. The building was constructed at a cost of $160,000.

During the 1950's, Monsignor Charles Allen, Pastor, initiated and conducted the first renovation of the church. He removed the plaster molded tops off the altars and a large crucifix donated by the Gerz Family was suspended above the main altar. Some statues were removed and the two side altars were eliminated. A statue of St. Therese was donated for use in the newly renovated church. Also during the 1950's, Lancaster Catholic High School rented some of the school classrooms. There was a Boys' Club with pool tables and games on the second floor of the old school facing the rectory. At this time, the Mother's Club bought the Nativity which is still currently used in church at Christmas.

In 1960, the school enrollment had grown to 316 students. A new addition on the Cherry Street side of the building was added which provided five new classrooms. At this time, seven houses adjacent to the parish property were purchased for future expansion. In 1962, another addition was added on the rectory side of the school building adding four more classrooms. The school enrollment grew to 575 students and the number of parishioners grew to 4,345. The church went through more renovations resulting from changes due to the Vatican II Council which included a new altar allowing the celebrant to face the people.

By the late 1960's, it was apparent that the church was not large enough for the parish, nor could we build on the space we had available. The Pastor, Fr. Mongelluzzi, met with Bishop Daley several times to begin a search for property suitable for a future church.

In the 1970's, a site for the new church was located; and, a campaign was conducted to build a new church. The houses along Duke St. were sold to help fund the new church. It was determined by the diocese that the new church would actually become a new parish. In 1978, St. John Neumann Church was founded and new parish boundaries were drawn. It was during this period that the orientation of St. Anne Church was changed from a long center aisle to the present semicircle design.

The school continues to serve both parishes and is governed and financially supported by both parishes. The two parishes share a close relationship in other ministries including the Annual Christmas Dinner, Crusader Youth Athletic Association, and the St. Anne/Neumann Senior Group.

The last major renovation to the church was in 2003. In 2007, the cafeteria kitchen was totally remodeled.

In 2009, the school received its first ever accreditation by the Middle States Association of Colleges. The school continues to demonstrate academic growth by winning awards in Science and National History Day competitions. Since 2006, the school has included Spanish, Latin, and a Challenge Program to its curriculum. The school also offers a preschool for three- and four-year-olds which is located in the St. John Neumann building.

There have been many changes to St. Anne Church and School. God's hands have always been there to guide and protect this holy place. St. Anne's is truly a community of believers committed to the spiritual well being of its parishioners and families under the protection of the Mother of Mary,
St. Anne.








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