St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Parish in Winnipeg began in 1908 as a mission of St. Mary’s Parish with Father Charles Comeau O.M.I. celebrating Mass in St. Joseph’s Orphanage Chapel. In 1917 the mission became a parish and the church was constructed. It was blessed by Archbishop Sinnott on December 9, 1917. Rev. C. O. Dwyer, O.M.I. was appointed as the first pastor. There were 115 families (480 people) and 162 orphans in the new parish. In the 1920s and 1930s, St. Ann also served the military at Fort Osborne barracks. In 1920 the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto were invited to take charge of St. Ann’s School which was located on the ground floor. They remained until 1971 and the school was closed at that time.
(Fr. Charles Comeau O.M.I.)
In 1933 Father Francis Xavier MacAulay came to the Parish as it Pastor. At this time a very large part of the population was on relief and St. Ann’s had a large debt. Father MacAulay raised money through card parties, bazaars, teas, etc. and little by little the debt was reduced. The Sister of St. Joseph were Father’s right hand until he retired as a Pastor in 1972. He was succeeded by Fr. Edouard Morand and in 1975 by Fr. Sean Cahill who remained at St. Ann’s for 7 years. Many parishioners still remember Fr. Cahill’s great concern for the poor, sick and those in need. He assisted the parish to sponsor many refugees.
In 1984, Sr. Catherine Laviolette, a Holy Names Sister started a three year contract as Pastoral Assistant to Fr. Ted Nagengast. She taught Catechism and did other work in the Parish until she left in 1987. Two years later, on September 1, 1989, Sister Alice Konefall from the same Order joined St. Ann’s as Pastoral Assistant. She carried her duties with cheerfulness and efficiency until 2009.
On March 1, 1989, Rev. Wilfred Daniels quietly took up duties at St. Ann’s. He was a former Blue Bomber. The congregation grew rapidly over the next few years and became known as “the parish with a heart.” Today the older parishioners still remember Fr. Wilf’s warm and welcoming presence and the numerous baskets at the front of the church for donations to the Winnipeg Harvest. Father Wilf’s death in 1999 was a sad event which left a huge void in the parish, as well as in the hearts of all who knew him. It was at that point that Monsignor Ward Jamison (also Pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Parish at that time) stepped in to also take on the role of Pastor of St. Ann’s. In June 2003 Father Robert Polz was appointed as the Parish Sacramental Minister and in 2005, he was succeeded by Monsignor Michael Moor. In 2010 the Parish was joined together with St. Paul the Apostle as Fr. Jose E. Medeiros became Pastor of both Parishes.
In September 2011, St. Ann’s Parish welcomed a group of Catholics from the Archdiocese of St. Boniface and the Archdiocese of Winnipeg who were given permission to regularly celebrate Sunday Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Fr. Jeffrey Burwell S.J. was appointed to celebrate Latin Masses according to the Roman Missal of Pope John XXIII. He withdrew his sacramental ministry in the spring of 2013. In July 2013, Fr. Ceas Chmiel was appointed a pastor with responsibility for both Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. In September 2013, Deacon Richard Ludwick and his wife Diana joined the Parish. Starting in September 2014, Fr. Wayne Morrissey regularly provides sacramental ministry in the Extraordinary Form.
Today, the Parish is a home for more than 300 Catholics who do regularly worship God in both Forms of the Roman Rite. In 2015, a bigger renovation project of the building was began. Parish offices and the hall were restored, heating system was updated, air conditioning was added, all windows were replaced and a beautiful stained glass of St Ann was installed.
Pastors of St. Ann’s Parish
- 1917 – Fr. C. O. Dwyer
- 1918 – Fr. A. O Cudahy
- 1919 – Fr. A. D. Rheaume
- 1920 – Fr. William George Moore
- 1922 – Fr. Aloysius Darnell
- 1923 – Fr. J. E. Louis Lee
- 1925 – Fr. E. D. Barton
- 1928 – Fr. J. A. Webb
- 1933 – Fr. Francis Xavier MacAulay
- 1972 – Fr. E. Morand
- 1975 – Fr. Sean Cahill
- 1982 – Fr. Kenneth Foran
- 1983 – Fr. Ted Nagengast
- 1989 – Fr. Wilfered Daniels
- 1999 – Monsignor Ward Jamieson
- 2003 – Fr. Robert Polz
- 2005 – Monsignor Michael Moor
- 2010 – Fr. Jose E. Medeiros
- 2013 – Fr. Ceas Z. Chmiel
Most Gracious Father, we humbly ask your blessing upon us as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the consecration of St. Ann’s church and the founding of our Parish.
We thank you for this place of worship, which has nurtured many souls by the Good News of the Gospel and the bountiful grace of your Sacraments. We thank you for the generosity and faithfulness of those who prayed and served you here and who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith.
We ask you today to continue to form us all into a spiritual temple made out of living stones so that we may always give you glory and praise, bring your charity to the poor, and your healing grace to each other. Help us to face our future with the same dedication, generosity and vision as those who have preceded us. May the treasury of the faith we profess today be faithfully handed on to our children.
We make this prayer through the intercession of St. Ann and in the name of the One who is the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever – Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.