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