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July 2, 2008 > History: St. Anne Catholic Church

History: St. Anne Catholic Church

By Myrla Raymundo

St. Anne's Church was established in 1860 as one of the first Missions which grew out of St. Joseph's Church in Mission San Jose. It is not definitely known where Masses were held prior to the building of the first church dedicated in 1862 by Archbishop Alemany. The church, known s the "Little Church by the Wayside" and as the "Little Church of Lucky Weddings," was located on the present site of Smith and Watkins Streets, in Old Alvarado.

In the early 1920's, St. Edwards parish was established in Newark. St. Anne's was then a Mission from that parish, with Father John F. Casey as the first pastor. Like his predecessor Father Alfred de Sousa, he felt a new church in Alvarado was needed and was determined to build it.

In 1925, the present church built in the Spanish Mission style of reinforced concrete at a cost of $25,000 replaced the original structure; it was dedicated on March 7, 1926 by the most Reverend Archbishop Hanna. Both Catholics and non-Catholics were exceedingly generous with their donations. They donated for stained glass windows, an altar, Stations of the Cross, and pews. The only thing lacking was a bell which was received later.

Following the 1926 dedication, a turkey dinner, prepared by the ladies of the town, was held the home of John H. Ralph who holds fond memories of the occasion, The dedication of the new edifice to the service of God marked the passing of one of the oldest structures in Washington Township, which had stood for 64 years.

During the building of the present church, the old structure was moved to the back of the present site on Watkins Streets. It is said that some of the lumber from the old church is part of the present Chapel used by the S.D.E.S. Lodge for their Portuguese Celebrations.

In June 1961, St. Anne's became a Mission of the Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Union City. The Franciscan Fathers were in charge of St. Anne's under the guidance of Father Leonard Herzberg, pastor, and Father Savio Dindia, assistant pastor.

The first church building was built in the old Alvarado District (as the area was known before its charter as Union City); the Franciscans staffed the mission from 1961 to 1971.

Since its formal establishment in 1973, the church on Smith Street, under Father Eladio Pascual, the parish community has seen strong growth. The four Pastors since Father Pascual - Fr. Alexander Snyder, Fr. Gabriel Meyer, Fr. Harry Morrison and Father Ramon Gomez - have presided over continual growth placing great strain on the church's capacity.

The phenomenal growth continued. Therefore, in 1983, a new St. Anne's Church was built at the corner of Dyer and Cabello Streets in Union City.

Today, St. Anne's Church is one of the largest parishes in the Oakland Diocese, but it maintains a friendly, small town atmosphere. Parishioners continue to have a dedicated church community marked by great activity and commitment. It is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse communities in Northern California. St. Anne has a wonderful mix of people - different ages and ethnic backgrounds - living as a community of believers.

Families, friends, and visitors are welcome to celebrate in the Mass as well as participate in the many activities and parish organizations.

Rev. Geoffrey Baraan is the current Pastor for St. Anne's Church. St. Anne is most known for its active commitment to service as well as its caring stewardship of Christian values. Correspondingly, St. Anne is home to a wide variety of services and organizations, in which many members of the parish community give their time and talents in serving others. Avenues of outreach and ministries include Youth Ministry, CCD Program, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Charismatic, Guadalupana, The Knights of Columbus, Legion of Mary, Marriage Encounter, Senior Group, Social Justice, Bereavement Grief Support, Couples for Christ, Divine Mercy Apostolate, Santo Nino Group, Small Christian Community Group, the Cursillo Group and the Senior Citizens Group.

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