St. Anne’s Catholic Church
Clergy and parishioners of St. Anne’s Catholic Church gathered at noon Nov. 10 to celebrate a special Mass of Thanksgiving. The occasion was the 90th anniversary of the parish’s founding.
St. Anne’s pastor, the Rev. Anthony Mongiello, was joined on the altar by four other priests and two deacons, including the Rev. Msgr. Robert Kozel, who was pastor of St. Anne’s before Fr. Mongiello. If prizes were given for making the longest trip to St. Anne’s, the award that day would certainly have gone to Dan Roebuck, the actor and director, who came all the way from Hollywood to join the celebration in the parish in which he was brought up and which he still considers his own.
Following Mass, members of St. Anne’s and other guests met at the Blue Event Center for a celebratory meal. More than 200 people had pre-registered for the event, and the room was crowded. A delicious buffet featured salmon, pork and chicken, followed by apple pie à la mode.
Between courses there were brief comments by several speakers.
Fr. Mongiello reminded the audience that St. Anne’s was founded at a very challenging time, the beginning of the Great Depression, and yet it has flourished through commitment to its mission.
Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez presented an commendation to the parish for its service to the larger community.
Concluding the celebration was the conferral of the Spirit of St. Anne award by Fr. Mongiello to Isabelle Andrews for her many services to the church and the poor of the Lehigh Valley. Coincidentally, Isabelle is celebrating her 90th birthday this year.
The guest of honor, Dan Roebuck, gave brief comments that were both entertaining and moving. Dan reminisced about the nuns who taught him in St. Anne’s School, who were members of the order of St. Joseph -- of Philadelphia, he quickly added. “Apparently there was a copyright issue,” he joked. (There are several other orders that also call themselves “Sisters of St. Joseph.”)
Roebuck recalled several encounters with sisters who had one or two pieces of sage advice to offer the lad. Men in the audience laughed as they recalled their own experiences of this sort. Then he became serious, commenting on how his life was shaped for the better by his experiences at St. Anne’s and Bethlehem Catholic HS and by the larger Church. It is not easy to be Catholic in Hollywood, he said, but he holds to the faith he developed at St. Anne’s.