Frequently Asked Questions

» Who is Saint Ann?  Can you tell me something about her?
» Can you tell me a little something about the makeup of St. Ann's Parish?
» Why do you have two Churches?
» What about parking?
» What about parking for people with disabilities?
» Why is the Chapel larger than the Church?  I thought that a chapel was a little church, but here the chapel is larger than the church.
» Is the Church ever used?
» When is the Chapel used?
» Is the Chapel cockeyed, or is it me?
»  What does the pastor mean by “the Goldilocks Factor”?
» Mass Length
» Mass Temperature
»  Who is Father John J. Newns?
» Who is Father Jeffrey M. Stecz?
» What are Father Stecz's Responsibilities in St. Ann Parish?
» Who is Father William J. Donnelly, OSA?
»  Why aren’t there any other priests assigned to St. Ann Parish?
» What about a retired priest living at St. Ann Parish
» Why aren't there missalettes in Chapel or Church?
» What is "Holy Family School"? Where is St. Ann's School?
» How many Roman Catholic Churches are there in Phoenixville?
» What is this about different traditions of Catholicism? This is news to me.
» What are the four Western Catholic Tradition Churches in Phoenixville?
» What are the two Ritual Churches of the Eastern Catholic Tradition in our area?
» In what way(s) are these Eastern and Western Tradition Catholic Churches the same?
» In what way(s) do the Eastern and Western Tradition Catholic Churches differ?
» Why so many Roman Catholic Churches in such a small area?
» What is Holy Ghost Orthodox Church at corner of Starr and Bridge Streets? It looks like a Catholic Church.
» Is it possible to get a copy of a sermon that I hear at St. Ann?
» How come some people stand in the back of Chapel during Mass? How come some people leave before Mass is completed?
» Are there any Sunday evening Masses in our area?
» How come the address of the rectory is "502" when it is located between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue?

 


Who is Saint Ann?  Can you tell me something about her?

Saint Ann & Saint Joachim are the parents of the Blessed Mother and the grandparents of Jesus. There is no mention of either Saint Ann or Saint Joachim in the Bible, and all of our information concerning the life of Saint Ann & Saint Joachim is derived from three apocryphal sources: The Gospel of the Nativity of Mary, Pseudo-Matthew, and the Protoevangelium of James. These sources tell us that in Nazareth there lived a rich and pious couple, Joachim and Hannah (Ann). They were advanced in years and childless. After a difficult experience and after each spouse was visited by an angel, Hannah gave birth to a daughter whom the couple named Miriam (Mary). The Feast of Saint Ann & Saint Joachim is celebrated on July 26th throughout the entire Church.

Traditionally three groups of people have asked St. Ann to intercede for them: (1) women who are having difficulty bearing children; (2) women who are seeking a husband; and (3) miners. Certainly grandparents could feel a kinship with Ann and Joachim, but perhaps also married couples might be drawn to the parents of Mary since their feast is the only liturgical celebration of a married couple in the Universal Calendar of the Catholic Church.

In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia there are three parishes dedicated to our parish patroness: St. Anne in Philadelphia founded in 1845; St. Ann in Phoenixville founded in 1905; and St. Ann in Bristol founded in 1906.
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Can you tell me a little something about the makeup of St. Ann's Parish?

In 2003 some of our parish statistics were:
- 5,650 registered members in 2,045 households
- 141 infant baptisms
- 22 weddings
- 61 funerals
- On average, 26% of our registered members attended Mass in our parish on a given weekend.
- 298 (68%) of the 423 children enrolled in Holy Family School are members of St. Ann Parish
- St. Ann's C.C.D. Program has an enrollment of 340 students
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Why do you have two Churches?

The original Church, (blueprint photo) built in 1907 and located at 500 Main Street, met the needs of the parish for many decades, but by the 1950's the parish started having overflow Masses in the school because the original church could no longer meet the needs of the parish. In 1967 St. Ann's Chapel (located at 604 Main Street) was erected to meet the needs of the still growing parish.
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What about parking?

Our parish has two parking lots: the lot behind Church can accommodate about 20 vehicles and the lot next to Griffin Hall can accommodate about 30 vehicles. In addition to these two parking lots, on Saturday evenings and on Sunday mornings some of our members use the parking lots of the National Penn Bank (21 spaces), the Philadelphia National Bank (46 spaces), and the Patriot Bank (13 spaces). More than 100 vehicles can be parked around the perimeter of Reeves Park.
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What about parking for people with disabilities?

The pastor has decided to demolish the garage located near the corner of 4th Avenue & Buttonwood Street to clear the way for a parking lot for people with disabilitis. We need about $25,000 to effect this change.
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Why is the Chapel larger than the Church?  I thought that a chapel was a little church, but here the chapel is larger than the church.

The Church was built in 1907 and our Chapel was built in 1967.  After six decades of calling our Church "the Church" it made sense to come up with another title for our newer worship site.
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Is the Church ever used?

Many of our members who attend Church mostly on the weekends and holydays do not realize that the Church is used every day of the week for:
- Prayer. The Church is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM to 7:30 PM for prayer and visits. The Most Blessed Sacrament is reserved in Church at all times.
- Daily Mass and devotions Monday through Friday
- Confessions, Baptisms, Funerals, Weddings
- Eucharistic Adoration every Wednesday 8:30 – 7:30
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When is the Chapel used?

We use our Chapel when the assembly cannot fit into our Church, such as during the Paschal Triduum, Sundays, and Holydays of Obligation. We also use our Chapel when accessibility for people with disabilities is needed (e.g., for a particular wedding or funeral) and when air conditioning becomes a factor.
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Is the Chapel cockeyed, or is it me?

No, it's not you. The original interior orientation of the Chapel was changed in 1981. When the Chapel opened in 1967 the altar was located where our organ and piano are now located. It is not uncommon for those who enter the Chapel by way of the Main Street doors to feel somewhat off balance; however, if you enter the Chapel by any other door, the feeling is less jarring.
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What does the pastor mean by “the Goldilocks Factor”?

There is objective reality (that is, reality measurable by an instrument) and then there is subjective reality (how I experience something). In Church someone is always hot, someone else is always cold, and still another someone finds the climate just right. Some of us find Mass too long, others too brief, and others find it just right. For the sake of sanity, the pastor finds it best in matters of time and temperature to move away from subjectivity and toward objectivity.
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Mass Length

Willingness to give God one hour a week is seen by our pastor as being rather non-negotiable. With regard to this target duration of one hour: 90% of our Sunday Masses hit this mark, 7% fall within five minutes either side of this mark, and 2% fall within ten minutes either side of this mark. We may need to ask ourselves just what it is we are relating to when we judge a Mass to be too long - one hour a week for God, or something else?
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Mass Temperature

It can be helpful to know that the pastor has directed that the Chapel thermostat be set for 65º in the air-conditioning season, so that you may dress and/or seat yourself in Chapel accordingly. If you move away from the walls, you move away from the air conditioning vents.
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Who is Father John J. Newns?

He is a diocesan priest ordained for the service of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1974. He was assigned as pastor of St. Ann Parish in June 1996, and since February 2002 he has been the only priest assigned to full time service in our parish.
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Who is Father Jeffrey M. Stecz?

He is a diocesan priest ordained for the service of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1999. In June of 2005 he was assigned to full-time ministry at St. Pius X High School in Pottstown. At the same time he was assigned to residence in St. Ann Parish.
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What are Father Stecz's Responsibilities in St. Ann Parish?

In general, Father Stecz's responsibilities in St. Ann Parish are to offer Mass on Sunday, and to help the pastor in any other way that is reasonable given his primary assignment in high school.
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Who is Father William J. Donnelly, OSA?

He is a priest ordained for the service of the Order of St. Augustine (“The Augustinians”) in 1967, and he is currently assigned as a member of the Order’s Provincial Council for the Eastern United States. He resides at Villanova University, and has been helping us at St. Ann’s since September 2003.
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Why aren’t there any other priests assigned to St. Ann Parish?

The general Archdiocesan policy for assigning full-time priests to parishes is one priest per each increment of 3,000 members. So theoretically a parish of 5,999 members would have one full-time priest, wheras a parish of 6,000 members would have two full-time priests.
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What about a retired priest living at St. Ann Parish

Retired priests are not assigned, and they are free to live where they choose. At present, no retired priest chooses to live in St. Ann Parish.
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Why aren't there missalettes in Chapel or Church?

The pastor has decided that as a norm we will not provide missalettes for Sunday Masses; however, this does not preclude measures to help those with special needs and/or preferences. For more on this topic (see the Pastor’s Statement On Worship Aides).
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What is "Holy Family School"? Where is St. Ann's School?

Holy Family School is the Consolidated Catholic Elementary School that serves the four Western Tradition Catholic Parishes in Phoenxiville, plus St. Joseph's Parish in Spring City. Holy Family School is located in the buildings that formerly served as St. Ann's Parochial School.
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How many Roman Catholic Churches are there in Phoenixville?

There are five Roman Catholic Churches located in the Borough of Phoenixville, plus one in neighboring Mont Clare. Four of these Catholic Churches are of the Western Catholic Tradition and two are of the Eastern Catholic Tradition.
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What is this about different traditions of Catholicism? This is news to me.

The Roman Catholic Church is composed of 22 Ritual Churches. Twenty-one of these Ritual Churches are of the Eastern Tradition and one of these Ritual Churches is of the Western Tradition. The only Ritual Church in the Western Tradition is the Latin Ritual Church.
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What are the four Western Catholic Tradition Churches in Phoenixville?

1) St. Mary of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church - St. Mary & Dayton Streets, Phoenixville; Founded in 1840)
2) Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church (Personal Slovak Parish) - 148 Church Street, Phoenixville; Founded in 1900
3)Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church (Personal Polish Parish) - 217 Dayton Street, Phoenixville; Founded in 1903
4) St. Ann Roman Catholic Church - 500 S, Main Street, Phoenixville, Founded in 1905
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What are the two Ritual Churches of the Eastern Catholic Tradition in our area?

1) St. Michael Roman Catholic (Byzantine Ruthenian Ritual Church) - 203 Jacob Street, Mont Clare; Founded in 1897
2) Ss. Peter & Paul Roman Catholic Church (Byzantine Ukrainian Ritual Church) - 474 Emmett Street, Phoenixville; Founded in 1929
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In what way(s) are these Eastern and Western Tradition Catholic Churches the same?

All Roman Catholic Churches share the same fundamental beliefs and they all accept the authority of the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) as the earthly leader of the Catholic Church.
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In what way(s) do the Eastern and Western Tradition Catholic Churches differ?

The main ways in which the Ritual Churches of Eastern Tradition and Western Tradition differ are three:
1) Local Bishops: Most Reverend Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua is the Bishop of Phoenixville's 4 Latin Ritual Parishes. Most Reverend Stephen Sulyk is the Bishop for Ss. Peter and Paul Byzantine Ukrainian Ritual Church. Most Reverend Anthony Pataki is the Bishop for St. Michael Byzantine Ruthenian Parish.
2) Canon Law.
3) Rituals and customs.
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Why so many Roman Catholic Churches in such a small area?

See Historical Note in the Parish Handbook or on the Parish Website.
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What is Holy Ghost Orthodox Church at corner of Starr and Bridge Streets? It looks like a Catholic Church.

Holy Ghost Church is an Orthodox Church and not a Roman Catholic Church. As a rule, the main difference between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church that the Orthodox Church does not accept the authority of the Bishop of Rome as the earthly leader of the Church.
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Is it possible to get a copy of a sermon that I hear at St. Ann?

Each Sunday and Holyday of Obligation we make audio copies of the sermons in Chapel. Audio versions of these sermons are available through our parish web site. Also, if you give a blank ausio cassette to one of our parish sacristans, he/she will see that a copy is made for you.
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How come some people stand in the back of Chapel during Mass? How come some people leave before Mass is completed?

Some folks stand for health reasons. Some folks stand for other reasons. Some folks leave early because of their responsibilities (work; home life; illness; etc.); this could be occasionally or for a certain period of their life, but they would gladly stay until the end of Mass if their circumstances changed. Some folks leave early all the time for other reasons.
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Are there any Sunday evening Masses in our area?

5:30 PM St. Francis Assisi Parish in Norristown (610-272-0402)
6:00 PM St. Norbert Parish, Paoli (610-644-1655)
6:30 PM Visitation BVM Parish in Trooper (610-539-5572)
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How come the address of the rectory is "502" when it is located between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue?

It's a mystery.
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