St. Ann’s 150th Anniversary
On January 1, 1870 the first Mass was celebrated in St. Ann’s Church. This first Mass in the Church was celebrated by the Rev. John Quinn, the First Pastor of St. Ann’s Church. Eight months later on September 18, 1870 St. Ann’s Church was formally dedicated.
Establishment of a home for Catholics in the greater Nyack area was something that can be traced back to 1833 when the work of building a seminary on that land was started. Unfortunately, when the seminary was completed in 1837 it was destroyed by a fire. Mass for Catholics in the Nyack area was celebrated in private homes in the vicinity. For weddings and confirmations, Catholics in the greater Nyack area traveled by boat to Jersey City or New York City. To service Catholics in other areas in Rockland County, St. Peter’s Church in Haverstraw was built in 1847 and the Parish of St. John’s in Piermont was founded in 1852.
To service the growing number of Catholics in the Nyack area, in 1865 a small Mission chapel was set up in an empty lot over a blacksmith’s shop at Bridge and Main Streets in Nyack. At this location, mass was offered once a month by the then Pastor of St. John’s, Rev. John Quinn, who after offering Mass returned to Piermont. Even with Mass once a month in Nyack having children baptized and receiving the other sacraments presented travel and other challenges. So, in 1867 Catholics in Nyack purchased four lots on Jefferson Street and made plans to build a new Church structure that became St. Ann’s Church in Nyack.
St. Ann’s Church attracted many Catholics from the greater Nyack area and a larger structure became necessary. With support of Catholics in the area with both small and large donations, ground was broken for a new St. Ann’s Church structure in 1893. Also, in March 1894 ground was broken for a new St. Ann’s School which was completed in September 1894. The current St. Ann’s Church took two years to build and on Sunday, June 16, 1895 the new St. Ann’s Church was opened with the celebration of a Solemn High Mass of Consecration. The generosity of the Catholics of St. Ann’s Church was such in building the new church that it was consecrated the same day it was opened. As What is most unusual, St. Ann’s was opened without any debt which allowed its opening and consecration on the same day.