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Parish History


History of St. Ann Church

In 1979, the idea of a new faith community in the southeastern part of Parsippany first surfaced. It wasn’t until March 1981, however, that a formal request was presented to Bishop Rodimer during his visit to Saint Peter the Apostle Church. At the request of the Bishop, Father Vincent Malloy, pastor of St. Peter’s, directed Father Robert Hoffman to hold neighborhood meetings to explore the need for a new parish. Various families expressed the desire for a smaller community with the opportunity for individuals to experience a more personal involvement in the life of the Church.

The first Mass of the new faith community, as the members referred to themselves, was held at the United Methodist Church on Sunday, August 1, 1981. Father Bob, the community’s early leader, celebrated this noonday Mass with approximately fifty people in attendance. The community grew so rapidly that in October of that year, a Saturday evening Mass was added.

In June 1982, Bishop Rodimer appointed Father Martin McDonnell administrator of the newly designated mission. Father Martin then took up residence at a rectory located at 240 Troy Road. On July 26, the feast of Saint Ann, Bishop Rodimer formally approved the community’s name.

Fr. Martin, wishing to be aware of the hopes and wishes of the community, formed an Advisory Board to provide feedback to aide in the development of St. Ann Parish. After a number of meetings, the Mission Statement of St. Ann’s was formulated. It spoke of a community striving to be a living example of Christ, bringing joy and healing through corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It was and is a supportive and encouraging community, recognizing and appreciating the worth and contribution of each member.

Bishop Rodimer raised the Mission of Saint Ann to the canonical status of parish on July 26, 1983. The new parish celebrated this event with a Communion breakfast at the Hearthstone Inn. The Communion Breakfast is now an annual event commemorating this very special day in our history.

In October of 1983 Father Martin was officially installed as pastor. Shortly thereafter, block meetings were held to determine people’s feelings regarding the building of a church. Saint Ann’s continued to grow, and the need for a permanent meeting place, a church home, became evident. At that time, the church building campaign was launched, goals were set and pledges began. The small group of parishioners overwhelmingly supported this fund raising effort. Groundbreaking for the new church took place on May 19, 1985 at Paradise Field. On July 26, 1986, a home for the Church of Saint Ann was dedicated. An addition to the parish facility was completed in October of 1997.

On July 26, 2008 the Community of Saint Ann celebrated the joyous occasion of its 25th anniversary. The festivities began with Mass celebrated by Bishop Rodimer and Father Martin. A formal dinner followed at the Villa in Mountain Lakes. The next day Fr. Martin had the privilege of burning the Church’s mortgage paying it off years ahead of time. Only seven months later, the parish had to say “good-bye” to Fr. Martin who was transferred to another parish.  In March of 2009, Monsignor Brendon Madden was appointed as interim pastor. Four months later Father Timothy Dowling was chosen by Bishop Serratelli as Saint Ann’s second pastor.

Today, under the shepherding guidance of Father Tim, the people of Saint Ann continue to be:

Rooted in the Father
Nourished by the Son and 
Growing in the Spirit



Parish History Timeline



March – Formal request to Bishop Frank Rodimer to create a parish in southeast Parsippany-
Troy Hills.

August – About 50 families attend the first Mass at United Methodist Church on South

Beverwyck Road. The Rev. Robert Hoffman presided.


June – The Rev. Martin McDonnell is assigned to the new mission of St. Peter the Apostle


September – Community meetings are held for input on a parish Mission Statement.

November – The Mission Statement is validated and accepted by the community; Deacon

Edward Sheridan Jr. is assigned to the community.


July – Parish status is conferred and the community is dedicated to St. Ann, the mother of Mary.

October – Fr. Martin is installed as first pastor. Vincent Blazovic and Marge Giaquinta are

appointed the first trustees.


May – A campaign is begun for the construction of a church; the initial goal, $600,000

June – Parish registration stands at 180 families.


May – Groundbreakng for the church at 781 Smith Road, the former Paradise (Little League)


July – Sister of the Church Frances Sanzo hired as pastoral associate.

August – Deacon Sheridan dies.


May – Deacon William Nicolaro ordained and assigned to St. Ann.

July – The new church is dedicated.


January – Rectory is built, completing the $1.2 million parish complex.

June – The Rev. John Hart, a member of the diocesan tribunal, in residence.


June – Deacon Nicolaro responds to a call from a parish in Florida; Deacon Donald O’Leary is

ordained and assigned to St. Ann.


September – Fr. Hart is appointed Bishop Rodimer’s secretary.


May – The Rev. Patrick O’Donovan, campus minister at Drew and Fairleigh Dickinson

universities, in residence.


June – 25th anniversary of Fr. Martin’s ordination is celebrated

October – Parish celebrates its 10th Anniversary with a Mass and dinner dance.


May – Deacon Al Frank ordained and assigned to St. Ann.

June – Parish registration exceeds 500 families

October – Expansion campaign begun with $700,000 goal.

December – Pledges top $870,000


June – Groundbreaking for addition of 12,000 square feet encompassing a parish hall, daily mass

chapel, narthex, offices, meeting rooms and classrooms.


November – Addition is dedicated.


October – Fr. Martin receives papal honor and title of monsignor.


first Vacation Bible School


first Men’s Cornerstone


20th Anniverary celebration

St. Ann welcomes migrant ministry

Sister Francine Kavanaugh named director of religious education


Sister Francis celebrates 50 years of consecrated life

First Ladies Cornerstone

20th golf outing


Bishop Arthur Serratelli makes first parish visit after succeeding Bishop Rodimer


Parishioners join Operation Helping Hands in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

Sister Francine departs for new ministry


Carillon dedicated to the memory of Bob Felton


St. Ann included among the sending parishes of All Saints Academy, after the diocese

consolidates St. Christopher and St. Peter the Apostle schools at St. Peter.


March - Fr. Martin accepts a transfer to St. Anthony in Hawthorne. Msgr. Brendan Madden

serves as interim pastor.

May – Deacon Leonard Deo ordained and assigned to St. Ann

July – Fr. Timothy Dowling appointed second pastor of St. Ann.


Parsishoners contributed $32,000 toward purchase of a $27,000 pickup and snowplow


An $85,000 bequest by the late Barbara Papparozzi helps pay for new roofs on the church and the rectory.

New thermostats, air conditioning unit, sound system and handrail purchased with parish rebate

from diocesan Partners in Faith campaign.

Children’s Church marks 10th anniversary