St. Anne was founded in 1904, when 75 hotel mass-goers organized and discussed the possibility of starting a new parish in the Sunset neighborhood. Known originally as the “Outside Lands,” it was made up entirely of sand dunes extending out to present-day Ocean Beach. The first church, a small wood-frame structure that seated up to 450 people, was built in 1905, but was later destroyed by the great 1906 earthquake.
New programs and traditions
Fr. Joseph J. McCue, St. Anne’s first pastor, introduced St. Anne’s Novena in 1908, a San Francisco tradition which remains to this day. After Fr. McCue died in 1911, his successor, Msgr. William O’Mahoney embarked upon a building program which resulted in an expansion of the church’s seating capacity to 750. In 1919, Msgr. O’Mahoney laid the cornerstone for St. Anne School, which opened its doors in 1920 with 222 students enrolled. The Sisters of the Presentation administered the school, and were chauffeured from their Motherhouse at Masonic and Turk until a convent was built for them in 1924. In 1931, Msgr. O’Mahoney also laid the foundations for the present day Church. In 1936, Msgr. Patrick Moriarty became the 3rd pastor upon the death of Msgr. O’Mahoney at age 75. Msgr. Moriarty encouraged the growth of the athletic programs and brought in the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts programs.
In the war years, the Sister Helpers of the Holy Souls began an after-school sewing class for girls in support of the war effort. The School grew continuously, particularly during and after the 2nd World War. By 1945, 946 students were enrolled in the school. In 1955, an addition to the school was completed. In 1970, Msgr. John Foudy became pastor and served until 1990. During this time, demographic and economic changes, which continue today, meant that Catholic families with children were moving in large numbers to the suburbs and non-Catholic families were moving into our neighborhood and school. This period also saw the development of the Chinese and Filipino-American clubs which were established in 1973. In 1974, after paying off the construction debt for the “new” church, Msgr. Foudy finally had the Church painted. In 1987 Pope John Paul II visited San Francisco. In 1988 Mother Teresa visited St. Anne Church.
A new vision
Fr. Richard Deitch initiated lay Ministers of the Eucharist, Lectors and improved the parish music program. In 1998, Fr. Ed Dura, said St. Anne’s neighborhood “has been transformed from a predominantly Irish-Catholic community to a diversified community composed of Filipinos, Chinese-Americans, and some Hispanics.” In 2004, as the parish celebrated its 100th anniversary, it also bid farewell to the Sisters of the Presentation that planted so many seeds of faith in the hearts of so many children. Their work led to many vocations that grew from this parish including Bishop Daniel Walsh and Bishop Randy Calvo. In 2005, Fr. Raymund Reyes became the 8th Pastor until 2014, when Archbishop Cordileone named him as the Vicar for Clergy. Fr. Daniel Nascimento, who grew up in the parish under Msgr. Foudy, became its 9th pastor. Working with the Parish Council, they established a vision for the parish to help parishioners: “Reach up with Hope to God, and Reach out with Love in service to one another.”