The original Saint Anne Church was a wooden, single-room structure with a little steeple dedicated in 1884. Over the last 133 years, the parish has moved into bigger worship spaces twice. In the late 1940s, it built a 160-seat church for worship services that still stands today. In 1977, the parish built a Parish Center for use by the staff, groups, and ministries. By the turn of the new century, the space around the church had expanded into the Saint Anne Catholic Community with a campus that holds the new church, the chapel (which was the old church), a renovated Saint Anne School for pre-school through eighth grade, a Gathering Space, a Parish Library, and a two-story, neo-Gothic worship space for the 3500 families that currently call Saint Anne home.
Like any home, after a few years, it needs some TLC.
“It’s like when you look at your own family home in the spring, from the roof to carpeting to all those things that are a part of the continuing maintenance of the house,” says Father Bernie Pietrzak. “Saint Anne is our spiritual home. There are needs we have to address in order to continue to be a vibrant and vital parish.”
Two years ago, Saint Anne, under the leadership of the Parish Council of Ministries, Parish Finance Council, and School Advisory Board, launched the Legacy of Faith Campaign: Maintain and Enrich Our Faith Home for Future Generations. With the goal of raising $6 million, the funds raised are earmarked for four specific purposes.
The first priority is the elimination of the remaining debt from the campus build-out almost 20 years ago. Through the generosity of certain parishioners and the early success of the Legacy of Faith Campaign, Saint Anne was able to finally retire that debt in January of this year.
Second, they turn to repairing, maintaining, and upgrading aspects in the church, school, and the campus. Repairs relate to the chapel roof, installed 50 years ago; cracked and rutted parking lots; worn fencing, retaining walls, and windows; and masonry repairs to the exterior façade. The heating and HVAC systems are due for an upgrade since their installation 17 years ago, as are the carpeting, restrooms, lighting, sound, and audiovisual systems.
Third, the Parish Center, which was built in 1977, is in need of renovations. Plans include a reallocation of space to accommodate all of the parish groups that use the building. The restrooms and kitchen need repairs and upgrades in order to continue hosting a wide variety of parish gatherings and events. They also plan to redesign the exterior of the Parish Center to better complement the look of the modern campus and current sanctuary, which won the Award of Excellence in Architecture from the Association of Licensed Architects in the year 2000.
Finally, as part of the Legacy of Faith campaign, Saint Anne will play its part in a larger campaign by the Archdiocese of Chicago called To Teach Who Christ Is. All 355 parishes involved in the Archdiocese are committed to raise funds to benefit Catholic Education through scholarships, religious education programs, professional development programs, and more. Saint Anne is committed to raising $1,218,000 as their share of the To Teach Who Christ Is campaign.
“We’re a parish committed to serving our people and the needs around us—the sick, the bereaved, those in financial need,” Father Bernie says. “But this is an opportunity for us to insure that our own parish campus is up to date and maintained for future generations and to meet the needs of 88 various ministries and organizations in this parish. A commitment to the quality of our worship is very important to me.”
Throughout the fundraising and construction of the Legacy of Faith campaign, Father Bernie and the leadership of Saint Anne continue their customary outreach to those in need and cherish the opportunity to celebrate together as a vibrant and involved faith community.
Speaking of reasons to celebrate, we wondered after Father Bernie’s personal plans for March’s grand celebration of all things green, St. Patrick’s Day.
“I was trained and raised by Irish pastors as a young priest,” he says. “There was a day when I was more involved in St. Patrick’s Day, going down to the parade and enjoying a dinner at the Irish Fellowship Club. I did that many years. Now, it’s an opportunity to acknowledge the great tradition and wonderful culture of our Irish parishioners, especially sons and daughters of generations who’ve come to America and helped to shape our church and our parish.”
For more information on the Legacy of Faith campaign, please visit