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