GORHAM — Generations of parishioners from Gorham will gather together on Sunday, Oct. 2 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their beloved church that that has stood as a centerpiece on Main Street for a half-century.
Bishop Robert Deeley will celebrate the anniversary Mass at St. Anne starting at 11 a.m. Fr. Lou Phillips, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, of which St. Anne Church is a part, will concelebrate. A reception will follow the Mass.
“In addition, at the start of the reception, we will hold a placement and blessing for a beautiful, new St. Anne statue outside the church. The statue is coming from France,” said Mary Jo O’Connor, one of the leaders of the committee planning the anniversary celebration.
“There will also be a barbecue and family activities during the reception,” said Nancy Phillips Scott, another member of the anniversary committee. “We can’t wait to gather with our fellow parishioners to commemorate this significant milestone in our church’s history.”
The basement of the present St. Anne Church was completed in 1963 with a seating capacity of 450 people. The church initially drew parishioners from Gorham, Buxton, Standish, Windham, East Baldwin, and East Sebago. After worshipping in the basement for seven years, church leaders realized that it was not adequate for the growing number of Catholics in Gorham. The roof of the basement had also started to leak, motivating quick action from the parish council and other parish committees to raise funds and develop plans for an upper structure on the property.
A design consultant from New York, Rambusch Associates, worked with Allied Engineering in Gorham and 4D Construction Company in Yarmouth, to erect the church.
After years of hard work, on April 9, 1972, Bishop Peter Gerety celebrated a dedication Mass at the new St. Anne.
“Though simple and economical in a contemporary style, the church should nevertheless be an inspiring place for worship and a real sign of God’s presence to the community,” read the program for the dedication Mass in 1972. “The natural cedar shingles give a rustic appearance which is appropriate since the church is situated against a pastoral scene of fields and trees. Looking at the building from the east, one sees the nine windows of the clerestory which shower natural light onto the sanctuary. The three central panes combine stained and mirrored glass in a design which points upward to the cross – a modified form of the Jerusalem cross. On the west side of the church is a large glassed-in-lobby providing spaciousness, easy flow of traffic, and a pleasant view as one enters and leaves the church.”
It was a day of thanksgiving, pride, and welcoming, and the three sentiments will be on full display once again on October 2 when those gathered happily celebrate a building that for 50 years has provided a home for the faithful to accept Jesus’ call to holiness, proclaim the Word of God, and serve those in need.
For more information about the celebration on Oct. 2, contact the parish at 207-839-4857.