Q: What is your name and current job title?
A: Sarah W. Thomas, administrative assistant to the pastor and in charge of financial records.
Q: How long have you been affiliated with St. Anne?
A: I have been a parishioner at St. Anne for almost 35 years and have been on staff over six years.
Q: What has this building process been like?
A: It has been a unique, enjoyable and learning experience. Being involved in all the aspects of building a church is something unique. Listening to the discussions among the architects, engineers, the general contractors’ personnel, the subcontractors, the director of construction for the diocese and the St. Anne pastor with the building committee was not only intricate, but intriguing. The mock-up wall had samples of all the materials that were to be used in the building of the church, and if some material design did not seem exactly right or was not portraying the conceptual design, then there was a meeting to discuss possible remedies to correct.Everyone had an input, and the final approval was a decision between the architect and the pastor.
Q: What are you most proud of with regard to how St. Anne has been able to achieve the goal of building a new church?
A: I believe how the whole process worked from the ultimate perception of what the parishioners wanted their church to look like to the completed church. How the majority of the parishioners made a sacrifice and pledged money to get the church started. From a young student that pledged a dollar per week for three years to an anonymous donor who donated a very large sum. It was remarkable that in a short period of time, the land was being cleared for our new church. It is God’s house, but it is the St. Anne parishioners’ home of worship for them and all visitors to continue to practice their faith.
Q: What role has Father Joseph Smith played in the process?
A: Father Smith has been deeply involved in the entire process. From the design of the building to choosing the color scheme for the ceiling and all furnishings, getting the beautiful statues from Italy, the over 200-year-old stations of the cross and paintings, Father Joe has worked tirelessly to make sure our church was magnificent, but without putting our parish deeply in debt. I must say that he has done a wonderful job.
Q: What do you as an employee and church member ultimately hope this church brings to the community?
A: A place to comfortably practice the gift of faith. The flame of faith will continue to burn for many years to come in this new home. We all should be proud of such a beautiful structure in the Richmond Hill community.
Q: Now that the church is built, what comes next for St. Anne?
A: For now, we must continue to pay for our new church. But as our membership grows, we should consider adding an adoration chapel to this church, or the addition of more classrooms for our Faith Formation classes and Life Teen Ministry on the St. Anne property. We also need to add the dimension of reaching out to help those in need by working together with the other charities in our community by doing God’s will.