Stoughton parish celebrates 150 years Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Peg Koch and Mary C. Uhler, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, Mar. 07, 2019 -- 12:00 AM
stoughton jubilee
At the Sesquicentennial Anniversary Celebration Mass at St. Ann Church in Stoughton, Fr. Randy Budnar, current pastor, and Msgr. Gerard Healy, pastor for 24 years, kneel as they process to the altar. Msgr. James Bartylla, diocesan administrator, also attended the Mass and gave a message. (Photo by Molly Sweeney, Let It Matter Media)

STOUGHTON -- From humble beginnings over 150 years ago, St. Ann Parish in Stoughton has grown into a thriving parish community.

St. Ann Parish held a Sesquicentennial Anniversary Celebration on Sunday, Feb. 24, to honor the past and look forward to the future.

Pastor’s message

“The choice that people 150 years ago made when they may have said, ‘We need a Catholic church here in Stoughton,’ is what has brought us to this day,” said Fr. Randy Budnar, the current pastor, in a message in the program for the sesquicentennial Mass.

“They could have said, ‘No, it costs too much,’ ‘No, there are not enough Catholics in town,’ or ‘No, it is too much work,’” he said.

“In contrast, I believe they may have said, ‘God wants us to grow: in faith, in love, and in numbers, and we need a sacred place in which to do so. They wanted a place to gather, to pray, to receive the Body and Blood of Christ; and a place to be and become the Body of Christ.

“This has been our place for the past 150 years, and we hope and pray that 150 years from now, St. Ann will still be growing: in size, in faith, and in love.”

In his homily at the sesquicentennial Mass, Father Budnar preached about the Gospel from Luke 6:27-38. He talked about the golden rule that people have been living for 150 years at St. Ann Parish and how God has blessed them.

He said that 150 years ago, Catholics were happy to start St. Ann Parish, but people of other faiths in Stoughton might not have been so happy.

“By living the golden rule over the years, we were able to come to respect and value each other,” he said.

He noted that many years ago, Fr. Joe Cox, pastor, and St. Ann Parish looked at the conflict and thought about what they could do.

“Father Joe loved to skate, so they set up a skating rink for the whole community to come and have fun together. It was very successful,” recalled Father Budnar.

“The parish with Msgr. George Hastich continued this respect and growth. Msgr. Gerard Healy came filled with love and joy, and he loved everyone as God’s children and helped the parish do the same.

“God has blessed us, is blessing us, and will bless us as we continue to live the golden rule,” said Father Budnar.

Parish history

In its anniversary booklet, St. Ann shares the story of how the parish built a strong faith foundation through personal sacrifice and prayer.

Patrick Nolan suggested the building of a Catholic church by Irish settlers in Stoughton. He donated land for a cemetery and helped organize local Catholics who erected a frame church in 1868 on land purchased from Luke Stoughton.

A new church was dedicated in 1932, and the current church was dedicated in 1999.

The booklet notes, “We are called to share our gifts. We are blessed to have so many groups within our parish that can be part of this mission. Some of these are the Knights of Columbus, CEW, MOPS, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Journey of the Heart Missions, Love Begins Here, Eucharistic ministers, choir, Prayers on Wheels, and Parish Council.”

The parish has grown from a small community in 1868 to a thriving parish of 758 households, with 154 students at St. Ann School and 167 in religious education.


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