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Annunciata Church


112th Street View West from Avenue G
Building at Right Was Site of First Mass
For Annunicata Parish

     The name Annunciata was initially the name of a church in Italy, Annunziata. The church in Italy was founded in 1250.  Archbishop Stritch named the soon to be Catholic church, Annunciata, after the church in Italy. The way this came about was through Father Philip Philbin, the first pastor selected at Annunciata.  He began saying mass at a maintenance garage behind offices belonging to Frank J. Lewis, at 3650 East 112th Street.  Frank J. Lewis was a real-state developer, who purchased property on the East Side for the Fair Elms housing development.  Most of the houses were located between 108th and 114th street and between Avenue A and Ewing avenue.  On July 9,1941 an official document was signed locating the exact boundaries of the new parish.  The boundaries of Annunciata were 106th street to the north, 119th street to the south, the state line to the east, and the Calumet River to the west. Ten days later Frank J. Lewis donated the south half of the block of 112th and Avenue H to the parish.
 Once Frank J. Lewis donated the land for the church, he also helped build the wooden church that was the second place that mass was held in. 

Old Wooden Church at Annunciata
The wooden church was the first church in which mass was said.  The wooden church was opened right before Christmas and mass was celebrated in December of 1941. The pews of the church were donated by St. Peter and Paul Parish before the new church opened.  When Annunciata began there were 73 families that were official parishioners. The dedication of the church, with  Archbishop Stritch officiating, was on June 21, 1942.  On August 17, 1943 Father Philbin volunteered and was accepted as a chaplain in the Armed Forces during World War Two. During the time he was gone, Father Casper Yost was named pastor.  Father Yost organized many of the fundraising programs during the time he was there.  By 1944 Father Philbin returned, he was out of the service, and Father Yost was assigned to another parish. When Father Philbin returned he found out that from the 73 families that were originally official parishioners the number of families had grown to 560 families that were now official parishioners. Since there was such a large amount of parishioners the wooden church was over crowded and that is why the church had to be have a larger church. The way the parish continued to grow was because of all the help and support that the parishioners gave them. As time passed the wooden church was too small to handle the amount of people that attended during mass. Permission was granted by the archdiocese to build a school. Soon the school became crowded, so the archdiocese granted approval for six more classrooms and a temporary church. The temporary church accommodated 600 persons and would later be turned into a parish center and gymnasium once the newest church was finished.  The schools additional classrooms and temporary church was completed on October of 1953. 

Annunciata School and Church
School Is at Right, Church Was in Lower Level at Left
Over the years that the school was growing, the church kept on growing and more and more families became official parishioners of the church.  Also a farewell was said to Father Philbin on July 19, 1956 as he left the pastorship of Annunciata and was assigned to a parish in Portland, Oregon. In his place Father George Wheeler, who was already serving as an assistant pastor, became pastor. Also two priests were added to the staff, Father Norusis (who remained) and Father Gabriel Weber. The church and especially the school continued to expand until today. The number of families continued to grow but not just in size but also in diversity and interests.
The ground breaking for the new church was in October of 1968.  The consecration of the altar and the first mass in the new church was held on August 9,1970.

Annunciata Current Church

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