HISTORY OF ST. ANNE’S UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
St. Anne Ukrainian Catholic Church came into existence as a mission parish and extension of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church. In 1950, Rev. Leo Adamiak arrived in Youngstown, Ohio, to assume pastoral duties at Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church. Over the course of the next decade, Holy Trinity Church continued to flourish and grow. As these changes occurred, Msgr. Adamiak searched for a way to accommodate the needs created by the tremendous growth.
To that end, Msgr. Adamiak made investigations for the purchase of property on the West side of the city, where many of the parishioners had relocated or settled. In 1960, after many months of searching and consultation, the Rose Lake grounds were purchased for the sum of $90,000.000. The property, which is located at the intersection of Kirk and Raccoon Roads in Austintown, Ohio, consists of thirty-three acres, three of which contained a natural fed lake and a residential home.
On March 3, 1963, Msgr. Adamiak announced from the pulpit and in a special edition of the church bulletin, the initiation of a $500,000.00 Building Fund Project. Initially, there were three purposes for the proposed project:
To give start to a mission chapel and school at the Rose Lake property;
To build a new rectory for the Holy Trinity Church;
To help defray the parish’s assessment toward the erection of a new Cathedral in Philadelphia.
By July, 1963, Msgr. Adamiak announced to the parishioners of Holy Trinity Church that the Archbishop's Chancery approved the construction of a multi-purpose building at the Rose Lake property. The building would consist of a temporary mission chapel, social hall and classrooms.
At the request of Msgr. Adamiak, a Building Advisory Committee was thereafter formed to orchestrate the Rose Lake Building Project. On August 6, 1963, the Advisory Committee held the first of many meetings. The committee consisted of an approximately twenty members, who worked enthusiastically over the next several years, dealing with the tasks of fundraising, planning and construction. On September 3, 1963, the late Archbishop Ambrose Senyshyn approved the building project, as submitted by the Advisory Committee. Thereafter, the committee sought and obtained a mortgage loan and also asked that all parishioners make a capital contribution in the amount of $300.00 per family.
The naming of St. Anne Church resulted from a poll taken in 1964 from the parishioners, building committee, and church councilmen. The top three names were St. Anne, St. Leo and St. Matthew. Thereafter, these names were submitted Archbishop Senyshyn, who ultimately selected the name St. Anne in November, 1964.
On June 20, 1965, Ground Blessing Ceremonies took place before a rugged cross and altar, where now the St. Anne’s complex stands. This complex was the first major building project attempted in the history of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church, and when completed and fully equipped, was to cost $700,000.00.
The building design is influenced by Byzantine architecture and includes four separate and autonomous sections: the chapel, school (ceased to exist in 2005), social hall and administrative section. The temporary church was intended to have all of the characteristics of a permanent church, complete with seating for 600 people, sanctuary, sacristy, pastor's office and confessionals. The chapel is recognized for its beautiful iconostasis, which was painted by Christine Dochwat. The original plans for St. Anne’s complex anticipated, upon construction of a permanent church, converting the temporary church into a school auditorium-gymnasium, complete with a stage and dressing rooms. The school section was noted for its two serene courtyards, which fostered a cool, relaxing and peaceful atmosphere for students.
On August 14, 1966, approximately one year after the Ground Blessing Ceremonies, the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated at St. Anne Chapel. Shortly thereafter, on August 18, 1966, the residential home located on the property was solemnly blessed and dedicated, having been fully converted to serve as a convent.
On September 7, 1966, St. Anne’s Ukrainian Catholic Elementary School opened. The main objective was to provide a Christian environment for the young to study, love and live our Ukrainian Catholic Faith, which included spirituality, language and tradition.
The school opened its doors to an initial enrollment of twenty-one children, grades one through four, and a faculty of two Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate. Soon thereafter, the Parent's Guild Association (PGA) was created to help facilitate the administration of the school as well as to greatly enhance the overall scholastic environment. The PGA remains a very strong influence on the school, particularly with regard to purchasing and acquiring essential school equipment, materials and supplies.
A grade was added each year to the school until reaching the eighth grade. The first eighth grade graduation ceremony was held June 13, 1971. Student enrollment continued to increase each year, particularly after the institution of an all-day kindergarten in September, 1973.
Over the years, St. Anne School enjoyed further growth and prosperity, reaching the staff status, which included two Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate and nine full-time lay teachers. A part-time staff includes two music teachers, two Ukrainian language teachers, two Ukrainian dance teachers, a physical education teacher, a computer teacher, a seventh and eighth grade teacher, and a librarian. The staff also included six auxiliary personnel, together with two teacher’s aides and two part-time secretaries.
St. Anne School had an excellent reputation as one of the Mahoning Valley's finest elementary schools. Over the years, the St. Anne Parish Family substantially contributed to the economic and financial vitality of the school. Between 1975 and 2005, the parish initiated many financial projects to help the school financially. The parish started the Pyrohy Project in January 1976 and the Annual Parish School Festival in August 1977. There was also Tuesday and Friday Bingo. All of these financial projects, together with many others, have allowed St. Anne School to remain open and viable for many years.
These projects have also assisted the parish in completing extensive renovation to the church, school, social hall, convent and Lake Road home. St. Anne's Parish completed its first major building project with the completion of the new parish rectory in March 1987.
Less than one year after the opening of the school, St Anne complex was solemnly blessed and dedicated under the Patronage of St. Anne by Archbishop Senyshyn on June 25, 1967,
Beginning in October, 1971, St. Anne’s Church inaugurated the celebration of its first Saturday Divine Liturgy. By this time, geographic boundaries were also drawn up, with an approval from the bishop, to distribute membership between the parishes. Ultimately, Meridian Road in Youngstown, Ohio served as the principal boundary line. Thereafter, approximately fifty percent of the Holy Trinity Church became members of St. Anne Church.
On April 29, 1973, Holy Trinity and St. Anne Catholic Churches jointly celebrated the occasion of the Burning of the Mortgage of St. Anne complex. This was quite an accomplishment considering that both parishes paid off the entire mortgage of $350,000.00 in less than half the original term of fifteen years.
Msgr. Adamiak maintained full financial and administrative responsibility over St. Anne's until March 15, 1975. At that time, St. Anne Ukrainian Catholic Church was officially elevated from a mission to full parish status by Archbishop Senyshyn, who simultaneously assigned Rev. Myron Kosmoski as the first pastor of St. Anne Church. Soon thereafter, Archbishop Senyshyn assigned Rev. Walter J. Wysochansky as the second pastor of St Anne Church on September 9, 1975. Father Wysochansky continued to faithfully serve as pastor and spiritual father of St. Anne parish family till June 29, 1999, when Msgr. George Appleyard was appointed pastor of St. Anne’s Church.
From its humble beginnings, St Anne’s parish family blossomed and developed its own separate, unique and beautiful spiritual identity. The foundation for this new and wonderful identity began to take shape with the immediate formation of several men's and women's groups in October 1975.
At that time, the parish formed the St. Anne Apostolic Men's Society together with a women's group called the Mother of God Society. These two societies continued to provide St. Anne’s parish family with substantial spiritual and material contributions. In August 1989, these two societies ultimately merged, thereafter forming the parish society called the Apostleship of Prayer group. This group met exclusively to address the spiritual and social needs of St. Anne parish family. Additionally, this group contributed in many ways to St. Anne parish family life, having initiated the annual St. Anne Feast Day Celebration in September, 1990, wheelchair transportation, Adopt-A-Shut-In, an active Over Fifty Club, coordinating religious events and involvement in other corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
One of the earliest concerns of St. Anne parish family was the need to organize an Altar Boy Society in January, 1976. In 1992, this energetic society had an active group of forty-four acolytes.
The parish continued to appreciate and meet the spiritual needs of its youth, especially the young parishioners, who attend public school. In response, the parish started its CCD program in October 1976. The parish also initiated a Youth Ministry Program in November, 1978, to address the spiritual needs of its high school and college students. The Youth Ministry Program led to the creation of St. Anne Youth Group (SAY), which came into existence in January, 1984.
St. Anne parish family also recognized the need for leadership and excellence in good liturgical worship. To that end, the parish hired Marian Izak in September 1978 to serve as a full-time cantor, choir director and part-time music teacher, who fulfilled these duties for many years. While under the direction of Miss Izak, the St. Anne’s Church Choir recorded its first Christmas album, "Christ Is Born," in September 1978. During the same year, Miss Izak formed and directed a St. Anne School Children's Choir.
St. Anne parish family also recognized the significance of promoting and maintaining Ukrainian culture and tradition. This resulted in the ongoing parish customs:
the teaching of the art of decorating Ukrainian Easter eggs (“Pysanky”) in 1975;
the initiation of the traditional St. Anne Easter Banquet in 1976;
the formation of a Ukrainian dancing class;
the teaching of the Ukrainian language in the school curriculum in 1978.
The spiritual growth of the parish began to further manifest itself in the formation of Bible-Sharing Classes in September 1978, Know Your Faith Sessions in September 1981, Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Devotion in February 1987 and a Lector Program in May 1991. Spiritually, the parish was further enriched by the formation of six prayer groups, Marian Triduum and the observance of Lenten and Advent Missions.
St Anne parish family had bumble, but beautiful beginnings as a mission parish of its mother parish, Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Youngstown. Once established, the parish was born, matured and blossomed into one of the most active parish families within the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma.
The parish substantially affected the eparchy in many ways. Various new prayer services initiated at St. Anne’s were used in parishes throughout the eparchy. A practical compilation of a Divine Liturgy book was arranged at St. Anne’s Church and approved by Major Archbishop Cardinal Myroslav Lubachivsky in July 1980. Many parishes throughout the Philadelphia Metropolia purchased and used this Divine Liturgy book.
St. Anne’s Church also served as an internship parish for seminarians Mark Morozowich and Deacon (now Father) Michael J. Polosky, both of whom were ordained priests on April 28, 1991. Upon ordination, Fr. Michael J. Polosky was assigned as Parochial Vicar to St. Anne’s Church, where he served in this quality for a few years. Currently Fr. Polosky is Pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ambridge, PA.
St. Anne’s Church, along with the eparchy, also gave birth to diaconate vocations of Deacon Joseph F. Poklemba as well as Deacon Donald M. Billy, who currently ministers at Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Youngstown.
After Fr. Walter Wysochansky ended his tenure as pastor of St. Anne’s Church on June 29, 1999, Msgr. George Appleyard took over the parish. Although, due to financial reasons, St. Anne’s School had to be closed in 2005, the parish continued to move forward as a living community of believers. After Msgr. Appleyard ended his pastorship at St. Anne’s Church, the parish was led by Fr. Joe Tamburo, Fr. Andrew Marko, Fr. Peter Tomas, late Fr. Richard Whetstone (died in 2015), Fr. Ignatius Kury (2012-2014) and Fr. Lubomir Zhybak – a married priest from Ukraine – who since January 2015 has been the pastor of St. Anne’s in addition to being the pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Youngstown (since January 2, 2013). Fr. Lubomir is assisted in the parish by a very dedicated and faithful deacon, Thomas Bury. St. Anne’s Church continues to blossom having its own unique and beautiful identity, radiating brightly and bearing witness to Jesus Christ in the community at large. Next year, the parish will celebrate its 50th anniversary – the milestone that we all are looking forward to celebrate.