History Of Our Parish
St. Mary of the Annunciation was founded in 1864 by the small German Catholic Community of what is now Fremont Center. German Catholics, most of who came from small Bavarian villages such as Hausen, began arriving in this area in the early 1840’s. By 1860, they had reached sufficient numbers to acquire the land on which the first church was built. Lake County land records indicate the existence of a Catholic church on this land as early as 1861; however, it was located about a mile from the present parish site. The parish does not appear in any official Archdiocesan records until 1864.
Thus, that year is accepted as the founding date of the parish. The parish grew slowly, and for more than two decades was ministered to by mission priests from other areas. In 1888, the parish received its first resident pastor, Fr. Emmerich Weber, and the following year, the second church, known today as the little church, was built and dedicated. The parish school, which exists to this day, opened in 1896. Earlier attempts at establishing a school were apparently short lived. A rectory, convent, barn and school building were added in the decades between 1890 and 1930. When St. Mary celebrated its centennial in 1964, there were nearly 150 families in the parish. The parish grew slowly but steadily over the next two decades, but by the early 1990’s suburban development and expansion put St. Mary on the cusp of enormous expansion.
Fr. Ronald Lewinski was appointed pastor of St. Mary in 1996, and was tasked by the archdiocese to build a new church to accommodate the growing community which had already outgrown the little white church. The parish broke ground in March of 2000 and the new church was dedicated on April 14, 2002. A new rectory was also constructed at this time. Subsequent enhancements to the parish under Fr. Lewinski’s tenure include enhancements to the art and environment of the church, the installation of a new pipe organ, the founding of Frassati Catholic Academy and the establishment of the Catholic Consortium of Lake County, the inauguration of the Abundant Hope campaign, and the installation of a new bell tower containing the refurbished Marian bell from 1867. Fr. Jerome Jacob was appointed the 18th pastor of St. Mary in July of 2014 in the midst of the year-long celebration of the parish’s sesquicentennial. St. Mary of the Annunciation is now home to nearly 1600 registered families and is a diverse and dynamic parish community.
Monday – Friday: 8AM
Mass is held in the Little Church on the first Friday of each month
Saturday Mass: 5PM
Sunday: 7:30, 9:30 & 11:30AM
Children’s Liturgy of the Word during the 5PM Saturday & 9:30AM Sunday Masses
Childcare available during the 9:30AM Sunday Mass
Confessions: Saturdays, 4 – 4:45PM
Parish Mission Narrative
Our Blessed Mother responded to God’s call with a clear and unhesitating yes. Let it be done to me according to Your will (Luke 1:38). We, the people of St. Mary of the Annunciation, are called by God, as His humble servants, to respond with our own yes. Like Mary, we do not fully understand what God’s call means, but we know that through our yes, we give witness to the joy of the Gospel, as with complete trust, we follow wherever God may lead us.
We are one body in Christ with many diverse parts, called to discern our personal gifts and respond with absolute commitment to God’s call to holiness in our lives. As one family with many varied gifts and callings, we seek to grow ever deeper in our own relationship with Christ. Recognizing that we have been richly blessed, we are called to return those gifts to the Lord by serving his people, bringing the light of Christ to the world beyond our parish campus, particularly to those in greatest need. To realize this calling, we must allow our shared faith, the common thread that binds the patchwork of diversity among our parish family, to unite us and inspire us to truly live as men and women for others.
If the long and storied history of our parish holds any lesson for us today, it is that when we heed the words of the Angel Gabriel that nothing is impossible with God, we too can accomplish things that once seemed impossible. Building on this heritage and upon the firm foundation of our vibrant ministries, our beautiful and prayerful liturgies, and our mission and outreach opportunities, we will work to engage all generations and reach out to the lost and those who have left the Lord’s table, adapting the ways we communicate and meeting people where they are on their faith journeys. Inspired by our patron, Mary of the Annunciation, we will strive at all times and in all ways to become an ever more vibrant community, rooted in the Eucharist as the source and summit of our lives, and ready, as one family of faith, to say yes to God’s call.