About Our Parish

Our History

    Once upon a time in June 1922, Rev John J. Fitzgerald of St. James Church on Harrison Avenue in Boston, was named pastor of a newly-formed parish in Wollaston dedicated to St. Ann. When the new pastor arrived in Wollaston there was no church, no rectory, only a geographic area carved out of Sacred Heart Parish to the north and St. John Parish to the south.

    Fr. Fitzgerald celebrated Masses in the Masonic Building on Beale Street, later to become the home of Wollaston Post, American Legion, before being razed to make way for the bank building now on the site. Soon a curate was added and a dwelling on Willow Street, at Beach Street, was acquired as a rectory. The house later became a parish center and eventually was sold to private parties.

    Within three years of its inception, St. Ann Parish had built a new church basement on Hancock Street within view of the place where Capt. Wollaston landed in 1625 and established a trading post at Merrymount. During excavation for the the present church edifice, many Indian relics were found beneath the soil. Ground was broken on Nov. 15, 1924. On Nov. 1, 1925, the lower church was opened for worship. As the parish grew and flourished, the present impressive rectory building added to the parish complex.

    The second pastor, Rev. James A. Donnelly, began his tenure in April 1936 and was responsible for the erection of the church superstructure, begun in 1940 and dedicated it on Dec. 20, 1942. Built in pure Gothic style of Hingham granite, it was described in the history of the Archdiocese of Boston as having a “most pleasing though simple exterior and a magnificent interior” and as “one of out finest recent churches.”

    Rev. Msgr. Walter J. Leach succeeded Fr. Donnelly as pastor in Sept. 1951. Under his direction, the parish acquired property on Greenleaf Place, later renamed St. Ann Road. Two dwellings were razed and a wooded area was cleared to make way for the construction of the parish school. Before it was completed, work began on an extension which was still under construction when the school opened in the Fall of 1956.

    Staffed by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, the school that first year had a kindergarten and grades 1 through 6. An additional grade was added each year until there were eight. The convent and the youth center, with its swimming pool and bowling alleys, were later added to the parish complex on St. Ann Road.

    When the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth left the parish school, the convent building became the headquarters of the Archdiocesan Catholic Youth Organization and more recently the Catholic Labor Guild and its Labor Relations Institute.

    The 18 year tenure of Msgr. Leach as pastor was a period of much building expansion, much parish activity and much turmoil. However, the tremendous faith of the parishioners and the test of time have solidified the congregation and enabled it to be a viable community of the Church in the Archdiocese of Boston.

    Rev. Edward Flaherty succeeded Msgr. Leach in May 1969 and became the fourth pastor of the parish. One of his first official acts was to establish The Mariarons, an organization of women which, until 1990, had played a key role in the social life of the parish and had succeeded in raising thousands of dollars for various parish projects. During Fr. Flaherty’s pastorate, the school auditorium was converted to a combination auditorium-gymnasium and an athletic program was begun for the students in the school as well as for all youth of the parish.

    Msgr. James Scally became the fifth pastor in March, 1974. He presided over the introduction of many of the ecclesiastical mandates resulting from the Second Vatican Council including Eucharistic ministers, lectors and baptismal catechesis. Msgr. Scally appointed the first lay director of the parish CCD program. He instituted Tuesday night bingo to help support the parish school and organized several dinner dances and other social events as fund-raisers throughout the years.

    However, probably the greatest attribute of Msgr. Scally was his ability and willingness to intercede for a friend or a parishioner whom he knew to have a problem or a need. Most of these deeds were done in a very private manner. He died suddenly in August, 1987.

    Rev. Thomas F. Keane was appointed pastor effective November 1987. During the first three years of his administration a number of new programs were initiated including the Elderly Outreach program, Young Adults Group, Engaged Couple Workshops and the Finance and Parish Pastoral Councils. The Parish Finance Council prepared and issued to parishioners the first ever comprehensive report on the fiscal position of the parish in Fiscal Year 1990.

    The parish school introduced highly successful after-school and all-day kindergarten programs that are appealing to working parents.

    From its founding in 1922, St. Ann Parish in Wollaston has known good days and it has had its share of bad days, but out of it all has become a great parish. The people of St. Ann Parish over the past years have weathered wars, financial crises and other adversities. With God's help, we the  the people of St. Ann Parish in Wollaston will continue to weather problems and enjoy the good days as we carry on His work on earth.

 

Our Parish

About Our Parish

Deeply committed to Jesus Christ, we endeavor to become a unified community of faith, worship, and service. We strive to be a warm, welcoming and caring parish in which the gifts and talents of all, young and old, are recognized and graciously used to nourish others.


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