to 1860, Mass was celebrated occasionally in West Covington. In that
year, the Catholic people of the neighborhood approach Bishop George
A. Carrell for permission to establish a parish. Bishop Carrell granted
permission and construction work began soon after. The lot selected
for the church was located on Main Street (now Parkway) was donated
by James and John Slevin of Cincinnati. Bishop Carrell set the cornerstone
in place on June 1, 1860. While the church was under construction, Mass
was celebrated in the home of the Burns Family at the corner of High
and Main Streets. Early catechism classes were taught by Patrick Monahan.
The church building was constructed over a period of four years as finances
permitted. Much of the work was done by the members of the congregation.
Bishop Carrell dedicated the new building on December 11, 1864. The
first resident pastor, Father Adrian Egelmeers, was appointed to St.
Ann Parish in 1864. During his pastorate, a two-story schoolhouse was
constructed. Father Egelmeers arranged for the Sisters of St. Francis
of Oldenburg, Indiana to teach at the school. The school grew quickly,
and by 1875, enrolled 150 pupils.
Prior to 1886, many of the English-speaking Catholics residing in the
nearby City of Ludlow attended St. Ann Parish and School. In that year,
Father James Kehoe, pastor of St. Ann, began organizing these Ludlow
Catholics into a separate congregation. In May of the following year,
St. James Parish in Ludlow was officially dedicated.
In 1888, Father L.G. Clermont became pastor of St. Ann Parish. Father
Clermont improved the interior of the church with frescoes and he added
art-glass windows. His greatest contribution to the parish, however,
was securing two relics of Saint Ann, one from Rome in 1887 and one
from Jerusalem in 1891. These relics were placed in a small shrine in
the church. St. Ann Parish soon became known throughout the region for
its shrine to the grandmother of Jesus. The shrine was the focus of
the annual Novena to St. Ann. This novena drew thousands of worshippers
each July. In many years, crowds became so large that the church could
not hold all those who wished to attend. The Novena closed with a candle-lit
procession of the faithful through the city.
In 1891, the Sisters of Divine Providence replaced the Sisters of St.
Francis at St. Ann School. In 1908, a new schoolhouse was constructed
on Hayman Street (now Altamont Road). The building contained several
classrooms and a large auditorium. Two years later, the parish celebrated
its Golden Jubilee.
Thomas B. Ennis was appointed pastor of St. Ann Parish in 1917. Under
his guidance, the old church building was demolished and a new Gothic
Revival church was constructed in 1931-32. Bishop Francis W. Howard
dedicated the new church on June 19, 1932 with appropriate ceremonies.
In 1940, Monsignor Joseph Deimling was appointed pastor of St. Ann Parish.
Father Deimling oversaw the construction of a new St. Ann School on
the northwest corner of Highway Avenue and Altamont Road. Architect
Charles Hildreth designed the new school, which included four classrooms,
a principal's office, restrooms, and a large multipurpose room. The
school, built at the cost of $120,000, was dedicated on October 6, 1957.
In 1977, Monsignor Deimling retired after 37 years of faithful service
to the people of St. Ann.
Covington Catholics, and many others, began moving to the suburbs in
the years following World War II. By the early 1970s, St. Ann School
began experiencing declining enrollment. In 1976, enrollment stood at
80. In the following year, the Sisters of Divine Providence were forced
to withdraw from the school due to a declining number of sisters (the
parish convent was sold in 1977). By 1979, the school enrolled 69 pupils
and consisted of a staff of three lay teachers. St. Ann School closed
in 1981. This left the West Covington neighborhood without a school
- public or parochial (the Eleventh District Public School closed in
1979). In 1992, Children Incorporated began operating a day-care center
from the St. Ann School building.
The next challenge to face the people of St. Ann was a declining number
of ordained clergy in the Diocese of Covington. In 1996, Sister Berenice
Janszen, a Sister of the Precious Blood, was appointed pastoral administrator
of St. Ann. The transition from a resident pastor to a pastoral administrator
was not a smooth one. Later that year, a priest of the diocese was appointed
administrator of the parish. On July 1, 1999, St. Ann Parish officially
became a mission to St. John Catholic Church on Pike Street.
Ludlow Reporter, May 1, 1875, p. 3; Messenger, November 13, 1998, p.
3; Kentucky Post, September 1, 1992, p. 7k; Anneken, Sr. Mary Gemma
O.S.B., A Study of the Growrth of Catholicism in Covington, Kentucky,
1830-1868, (Dissertation 1946) pp. 79-81; Saint Ann Church, West Covington,
Kentucky, Centennial Booklet, 1960; Golden Jubilee: 1860-1910, St. Ann
Church, West Covington, Kentucky, 1910; Ryan, Paul, History of the Diocese
of Covington (Covington 1954);