As the city of Memphis grew after World War II, the population began to migrate to the rural areas surrounding the city including the community of Bartlett. The Bartlett area was fertile farm land and was the home to many Italian immigrant farmers. As the Catholic population in the area grew, along with the Italian families, the need for a more localized Catholic church became evident.
Father Francis P. Pack celebrated the first Mass in Bartlett in a storefront church in what was “downtown” Bartlett in 1949. The new mission of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish was unofficially named St. Edward. On Christmas Eve of that same year, John Maher buried a statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague at the corner of Stage and Charles Bryan Roads hoping that a church would be built on the site. Within one year the site was purchased for $5000. Bishop William O’Brien of the Catholic Church Extension Society, offered a $10,000 grant if the church was named for his deceased sister, Anna. Bishop William Adrian of Nashville agreed to change the name of the new parish to St. Ann. The first Catholic church building in Bartlett was dedicated on its present site on October 19, 1952.
In 1954, St. Ann became a “mission” of St. Therese the Little Flower Parish, and the associate pastor of St. Therese, Father Leonard Ogelsby, began to regularly celebrate Mass at the mission on weekends. By the end of the year, Father Ogelsby was appointed the first pastor of the new St. Ann Parish. During his 26 years as pastor,the parish opened a school (1960), and later expanded the school with additional classrooms, a cafeteria, and a gym. The new church building was completed in 1969 to accommodate the parish’s growth, and the original church building was converted into classrooms. The old church was eventually mothballed, and used for storage and meeting space. By 1970, the St. Ann parish community grew from a small rural parish to one of the largest parishes in west Tennessee.
In 1980, Father Victor Ciaramitaro succeeded Father Ogelsby as pastor and oversaw the completion of church renovations including new carpeting, lighting and stained glass windows. In 1991, the parish completed the Family Life Center, and additions to the school including a lower grade wing and library.
Father Bruce Cinquegrani became the third pastor of St. Ann in 1992 and began a strategic planning process leading to the development of a Master Architectural Plan. In 1999 the first steps of the Plan were completed with the Parents Day Out Program established in the old rectory and a home purchased and renovated for a new rectory.
Two years later the parish launched the St. Ann Jubilee Capital Campaign, and design work began on the remainder of the Master Plan. By 2002 the Jubilee Campaign topped $3.2 million, and as the parish celebrated the 50th anniversary of the construction of the original church building (which was renamed the St. Joachim Chapel), renovation began to return the building to use for church services.
The reception area in the basement used by the John Paul I Council, #7170 of the Knights of Columbus, was named Father McGivney Hall in honor of the founder of the Knights of Columbus. The refurbished Chapel opened in June of 2003. Construction then began on renovation of the main worship space; new classrooms/meeting rooms and reception area; and a new youth building and gymnasium. Construction was completed in April of 2004 with a Mass of dedication celebrated on April 3. In August of 2004 the new fine arts wing, youth building and gym were dedicated.
In June of 2006, Father Richard Coy was named the fourth pastor of the St. Ann Parish community. After a successful four year tenure as pastor, Father Coy announced his retirement in the summer of 2010. Father Russell Harbaugh, a former St. Ann parishioner, was named the fifth pastor of the parish.