Saint Ann Catholic Church

History

"The Lord is in His holy temple.  Let all the earth keep silence before Him"
Habakkuk 2:20

Erected by the Zeal and Energy of Rev Charles J. Grogan - 1858

our services

A History of Saint Ann

1821

The Catholic community in Edenton was organized by Bishop John England in 1821. The congregation was ethnically diverse and consisted of about 25 people.  

Each morning during his stay, the Bishop offered Mass at the "...Old Courthouse, returning there in the evenings to preach to the townspeople."

Lacking a priest to station in the area, the Charleston prelate appointed four laymen to lead prayer.

Saint Ann Church. Picture depicting the tower and the steeple

1858

The cornerstone for St. Ann Church was laid July 6, 1857, by Bishop Patrick Lynch.  A plaque on the front of the bell tower reads

"THE LORD IS IN HIS HOLY TEMPLE.  LET ALL THE EARTH KEEP SILENCE BEFORE HIM"
Habakkuk 2:20

Erected by the Zeal and Energy of Rev Charles J. Grogan - 1858

The Romanesque Revival structure was designed by Baltimore Architect L.L. Long. Church-women led by Mary E. Jones spearheaded the fundraising efforts.

Civil War Era - 1868

Although the Civil War brought construction to a halt, Bishop James Gibbons described the almost completed structure in 1868 as the "finest Catholic Church in the state."

Saint Katherine Drexel

Completion of the steeple, as well as installation of pews and the stained glass windows were made possible by a donation from Saint Katherine Drexel in 1897.  

Letter from Bishop Leo Haid, to Mother Katherine Drexel Dated September 29th 1898

Dedication - 1898

Bishop Leo Haid

The church was finally dedicated on June 26, 1898, by Bishop Leo Haid. A wing was added to the building with the arrival of Father Edward Gross in 1937, as the first resident pastor.

Father Edward Gross

Restoration - 1984

The 21st century has experienced a steady growth in the Hispanic community’s presence in the area.  In 2005, bilingual Masses began to be celebrated in St. Ann Church, Edenton, and in All Souls, Columbia, at the parish’s Mission Church.

Since then the parish continues to reach out to Hispanic people and provides weekly bilingual Masses at both St. Ann Church and All Souls Mission along with combined activities such as the annual bilingual outdoor Mass followed by the parish picnic and the celebration of the Feast of St. Ann.

On June 26, 2010, parishioner Frank Jones was ordained to the Order of Deaconate, and he became the first Deacon to continuously serve the St. Ann Parish.

Restoration of the church interior continues periodically with the most recent work completed around 2020.

Today - 2023

Today, our parish community serves about 345 families from five surrounding counties and continues to grow. St. Ann parish strives to provide a welcoming Catholic community that nurtures faith and encourages knowledge and understanding of our traditions.

We work to inspire service, stewardship and justice according to our teachings.  

Please join us.

A History of All Souls Mission

1948

In 1948 the Synod of the Diocese of Raleigh, listed Tyrrell County as being a part of the Parish of Saint Ann, Edenton.  Father Francis McCourt, the Parish Pastor (1941-1953), journeyed to Columbia from time to time to celebrate Mass and visit the scattered Catholic people.  In 1950 he purchased a one-acre site on the west side of Columbia to formally begin a mission, which was named All Souls. The land contained a four-room farmhouse.   A chapel and office/parlor were set up downstairs and the priest slept upstairs.

1951

In 1951 Father Thomas Williams, assigned to Saint Ann to assist Father McCourt, moved to Columbia and became responsible for the missions of Williamston, Plymouth, and Columbia.   Later appointed Pastor of this mission area, Father Williams received assistance from friends in Boston, the Catholic Church Extension Society, and the Diocese of Raleigh and was gradually able to fix up the farmhouse and make it a suitable place for worship.  Permission to reserve the Blessed Sacrament was obtained in 1952.

1954

In January 1954 Father Desmond Keenan was named Pastor of All Souls, Columbia and its missions.  He lived in Colombia for six months; in June 1954 the Diocesan Missionary Apostolate was reorganized and the entire area was once again under the direction of the Pastor of Saint Ann, Edenton.  During this period various newly ordained priests pastored at All Souls Mission.  In 1962 Tyrell County was formally made a part of the Edenton Parish.

The pastors of Edenton came regularly to Columbia for Mass each weekend until 1971 when Father Robert Wilken closed the mission.   Bishop Vincent Waters, encouraged by letters and visits from the eight families in the mission community, reopened the mission in July 1973 under Kenneth I. Parker.

1970's

The pastors of Edenton came regularly to Columbia for Mass each weekend until 1971 when Father Robert Wilken closed the mission.   Bishop Vincent Waters, encouraged by letters and visits from the eight families in the mission community, reopened the mission in July 1973 under Kenneth I. Parker.

In 1977, during the pastorate of Father Joseph Klaus, the families of the parish joined together to build a new church for All Souls.  Bishop Joseph F. Gossman of Raleigh dedicated the new church on March 12, 1978.

All Souls Mission after the recent renovations

2000's

In the 2000s a steady growth of Latino migrants came to North Carolina in search of jobs. In 2005 Guadalupe Ramos, a Hispanic missionary, arrived to minister to the Latinos in the area.  In addition to meeting with them in their homes to pray the rosary, she also held classes for 15-year-old girls in preparation for their quinceañeras, the celebration of passage from childhood to adulthood.

Meanwhile, the Albemarle Deanery, comprised of Saint Ann, Holy Family, All Souls, and Saint Katherine Drexel, held meetings to discuss the urgent need for a Hispanic priest.  In April 2007 Sisters Martha and María, Sisters of Guadalupe, arrived from Mexico to begin working in the Deanery.  In July of 2007, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge sent Father Francisco Javier García González “Chesco” to serve the Latino members of the Albemarle Deanery.  Sister Martha continued ministering to the Latino community in Columbia and Edenton.  She taught Baptism classes and prayed the rosary with Latino families in their homes.  Sister Martha also became a member of the Saint Ann Parish Council.  

In 2018 the Hispanic community celebrated the Living Stations of the Cross with as many as 60 persons in attendance. On August 5, 2018, Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama, a native of Colombia, South America, visited Saint Ann and celebrated a bilingual Mass.  On May 7, 2022 Bishop Zarama administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to 8 candidates at All Souls Mission.

Present

In recent years the people of All Souls have reached out to Hispanic migrants and all Hispanic people who have settled in the area.  The regular Saturday evening Liturgy is a bilingual Mass.