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St. Anne Parish History

Timeline of
St. Anne
Catholic Church

On the left you will find links associated with periods of history for St. Anne's and her missions. If you have any photos or important information that you think my be of help to these pages, please contact our office.

Events from 2015 - present

2015  The Core Building Committee had a master plan and church concept drawn up whereby the new church would be located in the SW corner of the property where the current offices and chapel were located. Offices and a youth center would need to be rebuilt off the southern portion of the Parish Center.  The current church would be razed to the ground and a green space for multi-use would be created.  This plan would cost an estimated $4.5 million.  With this plan, a feasibility study was conducted by Cosgriff Company out of Omaha, NE where it was revealed that an overwhelming number of parishioners would be in favor of rebuilding the church.  The company determined that the potential for fundraising was at the $2.5 million level--an amount well below the amount needed to complete the project brought forward by the Core Building Committee.  

2016  Due to small numbers of students in the upper grades of the school, it was decided to become strictly an elementary school with an additional 3-year-old pre-school. Early in the year, the Core building Committee met again, this time with the Admin. Council and Tom Hall of S & B James.  The result was a more simple church with a similar footprint as the current church.  It would also not be moved to the Southwest corner, but remain the same place as the current one.  The estimated cost was just under $2.5 million.  The committee unanimously agreed to go forward with this plan.  So, a special financial steering committee was formed by Fr. Bill to seek out and interview companies to help the community with the subsequent capital campaign. Walsh & Associates based in Minnesota was selected. The campaign set a goal of $2.5 with a $3 million "challenge goal" which would create a Prudent Reserve/Operational Endowment Fund which would create a cushion for operational costs for the campus or any unforeseen maintenance problems. The campaign began in the fall and concluded in December.

Replacing Fr. Nguyen on July 1, 2016 was Fr. Tetzel Umingli who was ordained the month prior. He was born on January 12, 1988 in Lagawe, Ifugao, Philippines. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Portland in 2016 by Archbishop Sample. He completed his studies at Mt. Angel Seminary.

2018 Replacing Fr. Tetzel was Fr. Arjie Garcia on July 1, 2018. He served St. Anne for three years until moving on to St. James in McMinnville as their Parochial Vicar. Previously, he was assigned as the Parochial Vicar at Shepherd of the Valley in Central Point and St. Anthony in Tigard. According to his online biography, Fr. Arjie was born in 1985 in the Philippines, he is the oldest of four children. He began studying for the Archdiocese of Portland at Mount Angel Seminary in 2010 and was ordained by Archbishop Sample with Fr. Tetzel. 

On September 1, the new church building having been completed, Archbishop Sample along with Bishop Peter Smith, six deacons from southern Oregon and beyond, and seventeen priests were present for the official dedication. The Church was at near capacity with some 820 people present.


Church Demolition





























Church Construction
























Church Dedication















2020  The COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States which caused parishes, nationwide, to shutter their doors and offer Masses without a congregation,  then later with limited attendance by the community, all the while live streaming with the technical resources we could put together. St. Anne immediately pivoted to live streaming the Mass using the Day Chapel and eventually moving back into the main body of the church as restrictions began to loosen. Streaming the weekday and weekend Masses became a new and valuable form of outreach beyond the pandemic shutdowns. In order to offer the streamed Mass in the most effective way, the AV system was retrofitted with several PTZ streaming cameras and a centralized system to manage the system. It was originally streamed out to Facebook but later switched to YouTube in order to allow for more people to access the stream with the least amount of friction to watch. 

Seminarian, Anthony Hoang Phan, began his pastoral year at St. Anne in August of 2020. His time concluded in the Summer of 2020 and returned back to Mt. Angel Seminary for studies in the Fall. He was officially recommended to be ordained a deacon and subsequently ordained on May 21, 2022.

The parish engaged, at the request of the Archdiocese, in a federally funded food box distribution program which began in the summer of 2020 and ended in the summer of 2021. At the end of the program, some 37,000 boxes of food and 2,400 gallons of milk were distributed from the parking lot, as people lined up in their cars. The line of cars sometimes reached all the way to A Street. The program was difficult to implement due to the distance from the packing plants (Pacific Fruit Company and Sysco) 


Our school shifted to online learning for about two months, but due to the small class sizes and adaptive thinking on part of the principal, Coleen Kotrba, and staff, the school was able to bring most of the students back to in-class learning. The school was one of a few schools in the area that was able to offer in-class learning for the remainder of the pandemic. The school saw a rapid increase in students and peaked at 119 children in the Fall of 2021.


Almeda Fire















Forest fires had been common in and round Grants Pass as well as in Northern California. These contributed at this point to a decade of smoke-filled air which darkened the skies and led some to wear masks. In September, the towns of Talent and Phoenix were nearly burned to the ground in what was called the "Almeda Fire." Arson was suspected. Meanwhile an unrelated fire burned many acres just south of the Oregon-California border on both sides of Hwy 199. During this time, St. Anne opened up the Kelly Youth Center for just under a week and allowed fire-refugees to stay. Food, beverages, clothing, tents, and sleeping bags were donated by parishioners and Grants Pass residents at large.

2021 Replacing Fr. Arjie was Fr. Stephen Kenyon who was ordained in 2019 with Frs. Tetzel and Arjie. Having served previously as the Parochial Vicar at Shepherd of the Valley, his move was simple and he had already many connections with the families in Southern Oregon. Fr. Stephen served at St. Anne in the Summer of 2018 as a transitional Deacon. This was a great help to Fr. Bill, as he was consumed with the final throws of the new church building project.  During the summer, Fr. Bill selected several parish and staff to begin a Parish Leadership Team (PLT) under the encouragement of Archbishop Sample and direction of a company called, Amazing Parish. In time, the PLT formed a prayer team that would meet after the 11 AM Mass in order to pray with anyone who desired it. It was hoped that the prayer team would expand to include more parishioners and cover the rest of the Masses.  In November, Fr. Bill was asked to take on a new parish assignment beginning in July of 2022. The Finance Committee in charge of the new building project concluded its work and dissolved itself with the completion of the fundraising portion of the project in December.

2022 The pandemic began to wane in the first part of 2022, and mask mandates became optional at Mass or other ministry functions. Many parishioners who had stayed away during the peak of the pandemic began to return. Ministries such as Coffee & Donuts returned. On June 12th, St. Anne held their first Parish Picnic since the pandemic hit. At that celebration, a copy of the "deed" of the church was burned, signifying the conclusion of the new building project funding and construction. 

During the 2021/22 school year, the school added a 6th grade class. In order accommodate, rooms 3 and 4 of the Parish Center were converted into classrooms and most of the wall between the rooms was demolished and replaced with an accordion-style closure. This would allow for the 5th and 6th grades to share in classes appropriate for both levels.

... and the mission continues!