History of Our Parish

Our Parish History


St. Ann's Parish began in 1940 as a mission to St. Anthony's Parish and it was originally intended to be the canonical parish for African-Americans, serving those in the Florence area as well as surrounding communities.  Florence itself had a population of over 10,000 African-Americans with no catholics within the community.  Bishop Emmett M. Walsh dedicated the church on October 19, 1941. Rev. Daniel F. Foley, O.M.I. was not only St. Anne's pastor but this was his first pastoral act of obedience after his ordination.  Since there originally was no rectory or place of residence on the property, Father Foley lived in St. Anthony's rectory.  Before the church was built, Father Foley was meeting the people and celebrating Mass in their homes.

The original structure was a one story brick veneer ediface, having a wood joisted roof covered with composition shingles.  Later priests in residence lived in the attached rear quarters.  The church suffered minimal damage from hurricanes and storms over the years but the original building still stands today.  In 1962, St. Ann's received funding for reconstruction and renovation of the church and extension of the residential quarters under the leadership of Father Russell Nickerson.  A catechetical center on Dixie Street was built in 1964 followed by an additional center in 1969.  Around this time, three sisters of the religious order, St. Mary of Namurs, were invited to Florence.  They began in August 1964, living in the rectory across the street, while the current pastor, Father Russell Nickerson continued the tradition of priests living at St. Anthony's rectory. Friends of the Sisters cleaned, painted, and collected donations of furniture for them.  The first nuns, including Sister Claire Marie, and Sister Laura, taught religion and Bible classes for the neighborhood children and eventually later started kindergarten classes at St. Ann.  St. Anthony's Parish donated a car to transport children to school.  The Sister's work was truly an outreach ministry helping the less fortunate of the community throughout the city with food and clothing, regardless of religious affiliation and the charism of the parish continues to this day.  The Sisters of St. Mary of Namurs served at St. Ann's from 1964-2000.

The St. Ann's Ladies Guild was organized in 1977 under the pastorship of Father Matthew Casey.  Through the years the Ladies Guild, along with the support of the pastor and parishioners, have held many fund-raising activities particularly the Harvest Tea and an annual Barbecue Sale.  The Barbeque became the longest-running fundraiser which was started by Mr. Jimmy Burch during the pastorship of Father John Lyons.  The Harvest Tea, started by Constance Cooper, featured a secret recipe tea that brought many people annually.  These events were opportunities for parishioners to socialize with members of St. Anthony's as well as non-Catholics of the city who supported our fund-raisers.

St. Ann's was elevated from mission to full parish status on November 12, 1975 by Bishop Ernest L. Unterkoefler and by this time we were named St. Ann.  When St. Anthony's Church burned in 1970 and was rebuilt on the west side of Florence, some parishioners decided to stay on the east side of town and therefore joined St. Ann's.

St. Anthony Parish donated a house down the street which became the CCD building for children's religious education. In 2020, this building became the center for St. Ann's Outreach Programs, housing the St. Martin dePorres Food Pantry serving families in Florence County.  In 2020 the present property includes the church, the attached former rectory which now serves as St. Ann's Administrative Building with meeting rooms, Fr. Foley Hall now serving St. Ann's CCD & RCIA Faith Formation Programs with meeting space and full kitchen, and the new St. Ann Parish Life Center, completed in June, 2020. 

One of the parishioners, Mr. James (Jim) Johnson, was ordained on the Feast of the Assumption on August 15, 1985, becoming the parish's first permanent deacon.  Deacon Jim grew up in the parish, actually living in the house across the street from St. Anne's until he moved away for military service.  When he returned home from the military, he entered into the Permanent Diaconate Formation Program.

With almost 200 registered families, the parish continues in its ministry to the community, providing food, clothing and other support to those in need; in its ministry to the sick; and in its evangelical mission to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others.

Saint Ann, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Feast Day July 26


Anne (Hebrew, Hannah, grace; also spelled Ann, Anne, Anna) is the traditional name of the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


Prayer to St. Ann

We pray...

Good St. Ann, you were especially favored by God to be the mother of the most Holy Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Savior.  By your power with your most pure daughter and with her divine Son, kindly obtain for us the grace and the favor we now seek.  Please secure for us also forgiveness of our past sins, the strength to perform faithfully our daily duties and the help we need to persevere in the love of Jesus and Mary. Amen.

"Of St. Ann we have no certain knowledge. She is not mentioned in the New Testament, and we must depend on apocryphal literature, chiefly the Protoevangelium of James, which dates back only to the second century.

In this document we are told that Ann, wife of Joachim, was advanced in years and that her prayers for a child had not been answered. Once as she prayed beneath a laurel tree near her home in Galilee, an angel appeared and said to her, "Ann, the Lord hath heard thy prayer and thou shalt conceive and bring forth, and thy seed shall be spoken of in all the world." Ann replied, "As the Lord my God liveth, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister to Him in holy things all the days of its life " And thus Ann became the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The devotion of St. Ann was known in the East in the fifth century, but it was not diffused in the West until the thirteenth. A shrine at Douai, in northern France, was one of the early centers of the devotion. In 1382 her feast was extended to the whole Western Church, and she became very popular, especially in France. Her two most famous shrines are at St. Anne d'Auray in Brittany and at St. Anne-de Beaupre in the province of Quebec.

She is patroness of housewives, women in labor, cabinet-makers, and miners. Her emblem is a door. St. Ann has been frequently represented in art, and the lovely face depicted by Leonardo da Vinci comes first to mind in this connection. The name Ann derives from the Hebrew Hannah, meaning "grace."" Source: From Catholicism/Saints/St Ann, /https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/saints/anne-469.

The Feast of Saint Ann is celebrated on July 26. She is also known as the patron saint of mothers, women in labor and minors.

Saint Ann Memorial Library

Dedicated Sunday, October 17, 2022

11:30 AM Mass in Memory of Deacons James JohnSon, Robert Gerald & Kay Schweers

Fr. JohnBosco Duraisamy, CelebrantReception Followed St. Ann Parish Life Center


In Memory of                                                                                   Deacons James Johnson, Robert Gerald and Parishioner, Kay Schweers

Dedicated on Sunday, October 17, 2022 by Fr. JohnBosco Duraisamy, Pastor, St. Ann Catholic Church, in memory of Deacons James Johnson and Robert Gerald, and in memory of long-time parishioner, Kay Schweers, the St. Ann Memorial Library completed the vision for establishing a space where St. Ann parishioners could meet for prayer, fellowship, research and learning in a calm and peaceful environment.


Fr. Noel P. Tria blessed the vision for this project in early 2021 and acquisition of shelves, furnishings and books followed funded by generous donations from our donor families, and the friends and families of St. Ann Parish. 


Under the direction of Sue Cox, Chairman of the St. Ann Parish Council, contributions have continued to provide for acquisitions of new volumes and library materials. 


Cataloging and set up in the library were undertaken by Kathy Lewis and Mary Barcomb.


The families of Deacons James Johnson, Robert Gerald and Kay Schweers contributed volumbes of books from their own personal collections from each representing years of ministry and service to the families of Saint Ann Parish with materials used for weekly bible study programs, development of RCIA programs, preparation for sacramental reception, sharing the WORD in weekly bulletins and personal study.


Members of St. Ann Parish families and friends have contributed many volumes of study in memory of a special loved one or in honor of one living to grow this collection. 


Today, the St. Ann Memorial Library serves as the meeting space for the Legion of Mary, the St. Ann Book Club, the Cursillo Men's & Women's Groups, provides classroom space for the YFF Confirmation Class on Sunday mornings, and is home to the RCIA Program weekly on Thursday evenings.


Open daily during regular business hours, Monday-Friday, from 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM (except when scheduled with parish meetings and activities) books are available for borrowing from the library.


Cataloging continues with the development of an database of library holdings assessible online and from printed database available in the St. Ann Memorial Library.


Contributions to the St. Ann Memorial Library continue to be accepted in memory of a loved one or in honor of a special occasion in the lives of your loved ones.  Books on the lives of the saints for children are always welcomed and appreciated!


For more information on how you can contribute to the ongoing development of the St. Ann Memorial Library, please contact Kathy Lewis, Mary Barcomb, or Sue Cox at the St. Ann Parish Office, 843.661.5012.

Interested in a particular title, a certain author or a general subject?                   To locate a book in the St. Ann Memorial Library by title, author, publisher or subject area, you may access this St. Ann Parish Library database (.pdf file) click here....


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Santacruzan 2019

Click here to view photographs from our celebration of Santacruzan in May 2019 during the Festival of Flowers (Flores de Mayo)

Flores de Mayo is a festival held in the Philippines in the month of May. It is one of the May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary and lasts for the entire month.

The Santacruzan (from the Spanish santa cruz, "holy cross") is the ritual pageant held on the last day of the Flores de Mayo. It honors the finding of the True Cross by Helena of Constantinople (known as Reyna Elena) and Constantine the Great.

Feast of Corpus Christi

To view the Eucharistic Procession in celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi, 2020, click here.

Deacon Robert 'Bob' L. Cox III, a member of the Faith and Advisory Board, authored an article featured on SCNOW on "The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ", also known as 'Feast of Corpus Christi' publishe on June 19, 2020. To read more, click here. 

We Overcome Racism

"We need to teach empathy to our children and we need to learn it ourselves." Click here to pray with us...

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