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St. Ann Parish in Arlington Celebrates 50th Anniversary

ARLINGTON — The culmination of a yearlong series of activities marking the 50th anniversary of St. Ann Parish in Arlington took place Sept. 25 when Bishop John R. Keating celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving. GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY IN ARLINGTON — Fr. Joe Mulroney (left), a priest in the Raleigh Diocese, presents a papal blessing Sept. 25 to his mother, Helen, and Donley Stocking, co-chairs of St. Ann's golden anniversary committee.

HERALD Photo by Michael F. Flach "It is a joy for me to be here tonight to celebrate the 50th anniversary of St. Ann Parish," Bishop Keating said. "I pray that the Lord will provide you with abundant blessings in the years ahead." Concelebrating Mass with Bishop Keating were Msgr. John T. Cilinski, former pastor, and Father William Schardt, current pastor. Msgr. Cilinski also served as an associate pastor at St. Ann’s following his 1948 ordination. The parish’s founding pastor was the late Father Dixon Beattie. Father Stephen A. Roszel, former associate pastor, was the homilist. Also concelebrating was Father Stephen F. Leva, associate pastor, and former associate pastors Father John T.B. Trong, Father Charles C. McCoart and Msgr. Thomas J. Cassidy. Both Msgr. Cassidy and Father Roszel are currently stationed at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Purcellville. Father Joseph Mulroney, a priest of the Diocese of Raleigh, N.C., presented a special papal blessing to Father Schardt at a reception following Mass. Father Mulroney’s mother, Helen Mulroney, was co-chair of the parish anniversary committee, along with Donley Stocking. Deacons Samuel M. Taub and William J. Donovan assisted the bishop during the anniversary liturgy. St. Ann Parish launched its yearlong anniversary celebration on All Souls Day 1996 with a Mass for all deceased members of the parish. An Advent Choral Concert featuring all four parish choirs was held last year as well. The parish history can be traced to 1941, when former Richmond Bishop Peter Ireton purchased land at the corner of 10th and Frederick Streets in north Arlington. The population growth in Arlington County following World War II made the establishment of a new Catholic parish a priority. The original church structure, which was dedicated in 1949, was a simple rectangular shape with a wing that was used as a parish hall. The wing was remodeled to provide additional seating as the parish grew. A new wing was added in 1960, giving the church its current cruciform shape. More than just bricks and mortar, St. Ann Parish is an association of people, said Father Roszel in his homily. "It is an important time for us (priests) because our association with this parish has been a good one," said Father Roszel. "It’s important to come home." Father Roszel was first assigned to St. Ann Parish as an associate pastor following his ordination in 1977. Even though he grew up in nearby St. James Parish in Falls Church, Father Roszel said he always has a strong sense of home and community when he drives down Washington Boulevard toward St. Ann Church. "Home is a powerful spiritual theme in St. Mark’s Gospel," he said. "Home becomes a symbol of intimacy" between Jesus and His disciples. "It is true for us too," he said. "Here we gather weekly to receive God’s word and the Eucharist. "The core of our life as Christians is service," Father Roszel said. "Every parish has unique ways to express this Christian service." St. Ann parishioners express their Christian service through two institutions within the parish boundaries — Arlington Hospital and Hospice of Northern Virginia, Father Roszel said. "People who are sick come here to get well," he said. Copyright ?1997 Arlington Catholic Herald, Inc. All rights reserved.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016