In July of 1950, Archbishop Joseph Ritter of St. Louis established the Parish of the Annunciation in Webster Groves replacing the recently closed Annunciation Parish in downtown St. Louis. The Reverend Arthur J. Ryan was appointed Pastor of Annunciation and its congregation of 292 parishioners. The property at the corner of Elm and Glendale was purchased and the school and church were constructed. On Sunday, May 3, 1953, the Annunciation parish family celebrated their first Mass in their new spiritual home.
Annunciation School opened Oct. 13, 1952 under the direction of the Sisters of Mercy. The 392 students in grades kindergarten through eighth were taught by five nuns and two lay teachers under the direction of the first principal, Sr. Mary De Lourdes. For 60 years the school fulfilled the promises and hope of its opening day. On July 1, 2012, our parish joined with St. Michael the Archangel, Our Lady of Providence, and Seven Holy Founders to form Holy Cross Academy, a catholic school system comprising three elementary campuses and one middle school campus, located at Annunciation.
The Parish School of Religion was formed in 1962 with Alice Bante and Ann Hildebrand as co-principals. Over the years, the PSR has been staffed by dedicated volunteers. Its enrollment exceeded 300 students at its peak.
Our parish has taken on many capital improvements. In 1960, a new rectory replaced the existing white frame house. In 1968, the parish acquired the property at 43 Short Avenue and remodeled the existing house for a convent. In 1993, the house was renovated and is currently being used for additional meeting space for the parish. In August 2001, the parish celebrated the dedication of the Parish Center, "A Center For All Ages." This structure provided a gym, three additional classrooms for the school, two parish meeting rooms, a parish library, a new office for the parish school administration and a serving kitchen. In February 2002, an addition to the church was completed, a bright airy vestibule, offering much appreciated space for fellow parishioners to meet, greet and socialize before and after Mass.
Father Ryan served as pastor until 1965. In addition to Father Ryan our pastors include:
Reverend John P. Cradick: 1965-1966 administator, 1966-1971 pastor
Reverend Robert Argent: 1971-1972 administator
Reverend Msgr. Bernard E. Granich: 1972-1983 pastor
Reverend Robert G. Ditch: 1983-1995 pastor
Reverend Denny M. Schaab: 1995-2005 pastor
Reverend Mark A. Dolan: 2005-2010 pastor
Reverend Bob Evans: 2010-2015 pastor
Reverend Michael J. Esswein: 2015-2016 administrator, 2016-current pastor
Our priest in residence since 2013, Reverend Msgr. Mark S. Rivituso, V.G. became the Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Louis in May of 2017.
While history focuses primarily on leadership and even buildings, we know it is really about how the parish family works to become more Christlike. We are proud to be a part of that continuing progress.