In 1929, Bishop Molloy approached Father Leo T. Ennis to establish a new parish to serve the spiritual needs of Catholics in Stewart Manor, a recently formed and growing village. On June 30, 1929, the parish of Saint Anne celebrated its first Mass in temporary space on Covert Avenue.
Despite the Great Depression, the parish community raised funds to build a permanent church. Unable to secure property within Stewart Manor, the parish purchased property at the corner of Salisbury Avenue and Adams Street in Garden City. On June 22, 1930—less than six months after the parish purchased the site - parishioners witnessed the formal blessing and first mass at the Church of Saint Anne.
A Vibrant and Growing Parish
In the decades that followed, the Church of Saint Anne continued to grow and prosper.
St. Anne’s School Opens…
Father McCloskey succeeded Father Helfenstein and in 1950 asked the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary to join Saint Anne’s and staff the school. While the school was under construction, these faith-filled women exemplified selflessness and generosity; the Convent, their home, was used for classes. On February 2, 1951, Saint Anne’s School opened.
A Growing Parish, A Bigger Home: A Move to Dartmouth
Fathers Ambrose Gilmartin, White, and Wickman helped expand St. Anne’s physical footprint to accommodate future growth. The Convent on Fairmount Boulevard was built and the Rectory on Adams Street was expanded. By the early 1960’s, it was clear that the original church and rectory on Adams Street could no longer contain the growing parish. In 1964, the Church of Saint Anne moved to Dartmouth Street; the Rectory followed in 1978.
In June, 1979, with the interior of the church newly refurbished, Saint Anne’s joyfully celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Firmly Planted on Dartmouth Street, Saint Anne’s Blooms
Father Wickman retired in 1988 and was succeeded by Monsignor John Seidenschwang. During his tenure, the parish celebrated its 60th anniversary and the school became the first elementary school in the Diocese to receive accreditation by the Middle States Association.
Another achievement: Challenge ’92 -- a renovation and updating of the school and church. The goal: to bring parishioners closer to Christ and to one another. Parishioners were challenged to dream about the possibilities for the parish.
Key outcomes of Challenge ‘92:
- more extensive programs in faith formation
- increased effort to reach out to Catholics who had left the Church.
Monsignor’s untimely death in July, 1995 was a blow to the parish but the hopes that the Church of Saint Anne had for itself and the wider community lived on.
Monsignor John D. Gilmartin became pastor in February, 1999. With an emphasis on liturgy, education and parish social ministry, Father John has encouraged parishioners to place the Eucharist at the center of their lives and to allow it to transform them: not only through prayerful participation in the Mass, but in the way the life and message of Christ shapes their lives.
- Renew 2000: Completed renew in 200 with n early 350 parishioners participatants
- Expanded our Parish Social Ministry to over 11 committees and 300 volunteers
- Broadened the Faith Formation programs
By 2007 we doubled the number of catechists to 200
- Successfully spearheaded the Parish’s Challenge’75 campaign in 2004. Over 750 families participated and the Parish raised over $3.3 million.
- Our school in the past 5 years has increased enrollment to over 500, enhance curriculum with consultants and staff development, brought significant new technology (smart Board (14) and established a faith formation component with 2 new Staff
- Saint Therse Chapel designed with 12 students from 3rd to 7th grade and named in honor of Monsignor William Costello.
- Established a strong administrative staff and with a very strong finance committee our financial outlook is very positive
Our Hope for the Future
As the Church of Saint Anne looks forward to bright and promising future, the entire parish community gives thanks to God for the many priests, nuns, staff - and most of all, our fellow parishioners—who have made our church the faith-focused, Christ-centered community that it is today.