St. Anne's Church Kitchener Ontario
Our Parish History
During the more than 60 years since the founding of St. Anne’s Parish, there have been many changes in the exterior and interior structure of the Church and increasing opportunities to involve the Parish family in its ministries.
Established in 1948, St. Anne’s was made up of portions of St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s Parishes encompassing almost all of southeast Kitchener. Father Harold B. Smith was appointed first Pastor and Mass was celebrated in the assembly room of the new four room St. Anne’s School until Christmas Eve 1950 when the Church was completed. Formal dedication of the Church for the spiritual needs of the Parish’s 337 families took place on April 21, 1951.
Despite the formation of St. Aloysius Parish in 1953 which drew from sections of
St. Anne’s and St. Joseph’s Parishes, growth continued within our new boundaries. Notre Dame School was built in 1956, the Parish rectory was added in 1957 and a convent for the School Sisters of Notre Dame followed in 1964.
When Father Tom Gallagher succeeded Father Smith as Pastor in 1962, St. Anne’s was one of the largest Parishes in the diocese with 1,175 families. The boundaries were again redefined with formation of St. Anthony Daniel’s Parish in 1966. There are presently about 450 families in St. Anne’s Parish.
The original semi-Gothic structure of the church underwent major renovations and, in 1972, a modern design facing drastically changed its architectural style. The 2 ½ ton marble statue of St. Anne in the tower of the Church at the side entrance however remains a focal point. It was created by John Cuzzi.
As a centennial project in 1967, the sanctuary was re-styled, the Church was painted and stained glass windows designs by a parishioner, Bruce Hoch, were installed adding warmth to the rather austere interior of the Church. Carpeting, wall panelling and further renovations to the sanctuary, hall and grounds were made after Father Gerry Hayes became Pastor in 1980.
Father Bob Stainsby was appointed Pastor in July 1991. During his tenure, the electrical system was brought up to date, a new loud system was installed and the kitchen was renovated. A ramp at the front entrance and an electric chair lift were installed to provide easier access for the handicapped to the Church and the hall.
Father Stephen Csiszar succeeded Father Bob Stainsby in 1998. During his time Father Stephen had added the air conditioning to the Church. He retired in 2000.
Father Michael King joined us in June 2000. Under his direction, St. Anne’s assisted other local churches in providing shelter for the homeless in the Out of the Cold Program. Weekly Bible Study groups and vigil lights were re-introduced beneath the statue of Our Lady.
Father Mark Sullivan was appointed Pastor in June of 2005. During his time, the entire Church was painted for the first time in almost 30 years. As well, a new enclave was created on the Pandora street side of the Church which houses the “Generation Statue” created by local artist, Timothy Schmalz, and which was generously donated by a Parish family.
Father Peter J. Meyer was appointed as Pastor to St. Anne’s Parish in June 2011. Over the last 64 years of the life of the Parish, St. Anne’s had tried to be a welcoming, vibrant parish. At this time in the life of the Parish, we are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. The Council emphasized the Baptism of all believers and that we are to be rooted in the Gospel of the Good News.
Change is essential to growth and we have seen many changes in our Church over the years: girls have become Altar Servers, and young children participated in a pre-liturgy program. The communion railing was removed and the Sacred Host is received in the hand. Mass is said in English instead of Latin. The altar was moved so that Priests face the congregation. There are more open confessionals. We offer the sign of peace during Mass; bring comfort and the Eucharist to shut-ins and meet on coffee Sundays. We have been introduced to new responses to the Mass, which is to be a more exact translation to out prayers. Many of our parishioners participate in the weekly Masses we are so fortunate to have.
In the current years we are called to grow in our spirituality as we are now enter the “Year of Faith”. More spiritual and communal initiatives have been spearheaded at this time. We now have a Summer Bible Camp and a new Youth Group called Awake. Let us continue to grow as a community of faith.
We welcome all changes which have strengthened our faith and brought us closer together as a parish family.
Any chance you have any memorabilia, particularly photos, that we could post? We appreciate all offerings, including anecdotes you may have from way back then.
All submissions are subject to editing and remain the property of St. Anne's Church Kitchener Ontario
We want your old photographs and stories! Please drop us an email with any interesting tidbit that speaks of your relationship/history with St. Anne's Parish. It could be a story of how you got married in St Anne's 30 years ago. It could be a story of how a special St Anne pastor made the departure of a loved one easier to bear by virtue of his compassion. It could be a story of how your three year old grand daughter made everyone laugh when she first visited St Anne's Church. Perhaps you are one of our longtime parishioners who remembers when the church was built and have a story about your first visit. Send us your stories and we will be thrilled to introduce them onto the webpage and share with others. If you are uncomfortable using names, that is not necessary, just the basic story is enough to inspire and delight. This page is for you to share with others. Thank you very much for your contributions.