More than 15 years ago the parishioners of Saint Ann decided to first build a church which was finally dedicated in 2001. The plan was to build a parish center after the mortgage was paid off on the church. With that accomplished, plans for the new parish center went into action a few years ago with the help and guidance of the Diocese and the Parish Pastoral Council, Finance Council and Building Committee. At the same time, the parish inaugurated our “Dreams Campaign” which included fundraising for the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, our new Cathedral of the Holy Name of Jesus, our Learning Center and our Parish Center.
On Sunday, May 8, 2016, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge served as the principal celebrant during Mass in celebration of the completion of the St. Ann Parish Center on the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus. Concelebrating Mass were Fr. Peter A. Grace, C.P., Pastor, Msgr. Gerald L. Lewis, Msgr. David Brockman, Vicar General of the Diocese of Raleigh, Msgr. Michael Clay, Fr. Scott McCue, Fr. Paul Brant and Fr. George Kloster, retired priest of the Diocese of Charlotte.
"I felt thrilled to see so many people gathered around the bishop for the dedication of our parish center," reflected Fr. Grace. "I was happy so many priests, deacons and parishioners came to our outdoor celebration of the Mass. The dedication ceremony represented the fruit of many years of work, prayer and sacrifice."
The Parish hall is the third and newest building to join the Learning Center and Church in completing the parish facilities.
“It (the parish hall) is a sign of the vibrancy of your parish. Yet, the most powerful sign that we offer is accepting Jesus’ call and being faithful witnesses for all to see,” said Bishop Burbidge. “So we too have to rise. I think of the words of Saint John Paul II who, in echoing Jesus, often said to us: ‘Rise. Let us be on our way. Rise. Do not be afraid.’”
St. Ann Catholic Church, the only Catholic church in Johnston County, serves approximately 1600 families. The 12,000 square foot parish hall took 10 months to build. Located next to the church, it will have a social hall, kitchen, meeting rooms, offices, medical clinic and space for the parish’s growing food pantry.
“The Church is the Vine and the Learning Center and Parish Center are the branches,” observed a parishioner. " As long as our hall shares in the mission of the Church it will bear much fruit and will be a place of much joy. Apart from that mission it can do nothing."
photos courtesy of Phil Roche