ST MARY’S CATHOLIC CHURCH ANACORTES, WASHINGTON – 100 YEARS OLD

ST MARY’S CATHOLIC CHURCH ANACORTES, WASHINGTON – 100 YEARS OLD

St. Mary’s Catholic church is celebrating its 100th year anniversary this year. I was baptized in the original church building located at the corner of 7th& N Avenue in Anacortes and served Mass as an altar boy when growing up. In fact, when the original church building was closed and the church moved to a new structure, I bought two stained glass windows from the closed church building. One is installed in our Gig Harbor home with a back light and the other is located at our Mount Rainer cabin. Both are very old and give a great deal of pleasure to look at and reflect on St mary's memories.

The first Mass in Anacortes was in the home of Mrs. Adelaide Davis Kasch by a priest who came from La Conner for the service. It was Mrs. Kasch who spearheaded the drive for a church in Anacortes. Bishop Edward J. O’Dea dedicated the first wooden church and it officially became a parish in February of 1910.

Amos Bowman had founded Anacortes thirty three years before St Mary’s was dedicated as an official church. Before that Anacortes was served by priests from La Conner, Snohomish and Sedro Woolley as a mission.

The first pastor was a very unique man and priest. Fr. Gustave Truenet was the  first resident priest in Anacortes. Born in France, he had attended the Sorbonne and obtained degrees in both law and medicine. In spite of those degrees, he decided to become a priest. He had served in Nova Scotia and came to Anacortes from there. Arriving in 1910, he first constructed a church basement called Joan of Arc Hall which was finished in 1920. The rest of the upper church structure was completed in 1929. The church was one hundred feet long by forty feet wide. It was made of lumber with outside stucco. The basement cost $10,000 to construct and the upper church $22,000 at the time of original construction. That was the parish church until a new church was constructed 1978 at a new location and the old church sold. The old church now serves as a Croatian Club.

Truenet For thirty eight years Fr. Truenet as the pastor and served until he died of cancer in 1948. Countless people were baptized, married and buried by him during that time. He was such a fixture in Anacortes that his mural has been painted on one of the down town buildings. Like an old country doctor who made house calls, Fr. Truenet promoted ecumenism before it became popular. He was a favorite of virtually everyone with his friendly demeanor and his open minded attitudes. He was a member of the local Rotary Club. The club was formed in 1922 and dad joined the club in 1929. He was a lifelong member. Everyone knew him and he was very active in the community. He was a man of strong opinions and not afraid to express them.

I have very vivid memories of Fr. Truenet as a youngster. I can remember serving Mass for him and sitting in church on Sunday looking at all the stained glass windows that told a story. I remember riding with him and other altar boys on a trip to St Edward Seminary in Kenmore as a reward for our service. He would tell stories about his life and entertain us plus share candy with us as well.

I have very fond memories of the original Catholic church. The basement served as a social center and for the parish activities. Cooking was done in the kitchen. The Croatians were a central part of the parish and their food was wonderful. The old church as the central part of parish life when I was growing up. It remains a fixture in my mind today. Happy Birthday…

2 thoughts on “ST MARY’S CATHOLIC CHURCH ANACORTES, WASHINGTON – 100 YEARS OLD

  1. Dear Mr. Luvera;

    I am in the possession of an old cane handle, which has been in my family for years. I am in the process of thinning out much of my collectible items, and was going to ebay this cane handle, however during the inspection of it, we found the name and date and began to research. The name is Reverend Gustav Truenet and the date 10-16-12. This cane handle is off the cane of Father Truenet. In doing the research we found your article about the Father and the Church. My Father grew up in Anacortes, and would have gone to this church. I am assuming Father Truent was his Pastor. I was wondering if you would know of anyone who might be interested, as it is quite a piece of history, especially for Anacortes and the church. I would be interested in what you think. Thanks so much for your time.

    God Bless, Linda Schofield

  2. Being president, a politician, a leader of Dem. both liberal and more consevative, is a balancing act and makes Pres. Obama’s task very tough. I like his attitude, “I may be a one term president but I am going to get certain things done” and he has, just look at the legistative achievements the past one year. Problem is very few give him or Dem. credit. The one problem that is hurting the nation and Obama is lack of Jobs, and much of that is out of his control and out of Washingtons control. Jobs are leaving, and many are never coming back. Look at GE, closing their Light Bulb Factories, competely over 5000 lost jobs, Congress passes a law, must use energy saving bulbs by 20l2, G.E. not willing to make these bulbs as did not create a way to make the twisting, curves in the bulbs and initially were all individually blown, to much time, cost and labor. China, actually a chinese american went to china and enginered away to make these bulbs, by machine and cheap labor. These jobs and the 20,000 others they created are not coming back. The manufacture of many items are not coming back so we need to lst work on getting our country repaired, energy, roads, medical, and educational, takes money and people must be willing to pay, and this is not going to happen, after the wars. The big problem is also people not willing to pay more taxes and greed of the large corporations of avoiding paying taxes. A democracy by its own make up can and has gone broke in other countries and near breaking several more, refusal to pay more taxes. Like someone said, “you cannot handle the truth”, I believe this is true of the general voting public. The tea party is an example if we had their way we would have a depression that would exceed the one in the 30’s, and they would be lst in line for the soup. The democrats and Obama need to educate the public on their record, he has to use some of FDR’s plans, even though socialistic to get poeple to work, knock off the BS that some foreign country is going to build the fleet of tanker airplanes and I suggest Obama stand up and say just that. He has to have a front man raising hell, and the VP should be the one but Biden is a nice guy and not to bright so they need guy like James Baker of the republican party who has been the real power in the Republican Party along with the Hoover Brain Trust.I will get off of the soap box – as I am to liberal, I am pro choice, I am anti Iraq, and Afganastan, voted for Obama, and realize a need for more taxes in the mess we are in. I could not even run for dog catcher and win. CB

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