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100-year celebration of St. Anne Catholic Church

Most Rev. Bishop James Powers blesses the altar with incense. He is assisted by Deacon Dick Peterson, servers Riley McGurran (left) and Jacob Schaefer (right) and Fr. Andy Anderson, Parochial Vicar of St. Anne Catholic Church. Also serving was Izaak Newhouse, not pictured. Photo submitted by Michele Bauer1 / 2
St. Anne’s church in Somerset stands as a historical example of modernized Italian Romanesque style of architecture, designed by Emmanuel Masqueray who also designed the cathedral in St. Paul and Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. Photo submitted by Michele Bauer2 / 2

Saint Anne Catholic Church of Somerset celebrated 100 years in the current building on July 22, 2017, exactly 100 years after the first divine service was held in the church.

Bishop James Powers of the Diocese of Superior, assisted by the Rev. Andy Anderson and Deacon Richard Peterson, celebrated the 5 p.m. Mass with a large attendance in the beautifully decorated church. Bishop Powers blessed the outside and inside of the church, gave an inspiring homily, and the choir and musicians provided celebratory music.

After Mass, people congregated in Caron Hall for a chicken dinner and an opportunity to view an exhibit of historical pictures and memorabilia. Displays highlighted the church's rich history, including the progress of the parish and its structures beginning in 1856. By 1916, the church built in 1875 was much too small. Fr. Caron called in one of the finest architects in the northwest, Emmanuel Masqueray, who had designed the Cathedral of St. Paul, the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis and many other famous churches in the Midwest. St. Anne's is his only commissioned church in Wisconsin. It is of the modernized Italian Romanesque style of architecture.

On July 27, 1916, the day after the feast of St. Anne (patron saint of the parish), the wrecking crew began to tear down the old church. Divine services were held in the new church in the same location 361 days later. The cost of the new building was $52,000. Only a small debt of $15,000 remained after the dedication.

In the early 1970s, Fr. Nowak led the effort to remodel and redecorate the sanctuary. In 2001, Fr. Brinkman initiated the building of a new addition, named the Beaudette Center after a much-loved priest who shepherded St. Anne's Parish from 1917-1946. The basement with an elevator access from the gathering space was named Caron Hall after the priest who supervised the building of the church in 1916. In 2009, 92 years after the church was built, the beautiful stained glass windows needed repair. This project was completed for $250,000.

Today, St. Anne's stands as a historical example of early 20th century church architecture. More importantly, St. Anne's parish serves as a church home for its parishioners and a welcoming place of faith and worship for all. The church's long and rich history remain a testament of God's abundance and love.