PARISH OF SAINT ANNE, Šabac
Although there are not many written records of the parish of St. Anne, as they have not been preserved for various reasons, it is known that Catholic believers have been here a long time due to proximity to the borders with territories populated predominantly with Catholics. However, we know for a fact that the arrival of a larger number of Catholics, particularly in Šabac, was recorded only after the First World War. There were a considerable number of educated experts among them: doctors, technicians, mechanics etc., but also diverse craftsmen who were needed in Šabac. According to a census in 1931, there were 778 Catholics, i.e. 5.6% of the population and their contribution to overall life of the town and the environment must have been great and well received in the rapidly developing town.
Although masses had been held on the premises of Podrinska Teacher Education Faculty and “Kolo srpskih sestara” (as it was recorded in 1926), digging of the foundation for a new church started in June, 1928 in the part of town called Baire, near the railway station. According to “Šabački glasnik”, there weren’t even 150 Catholics in Šabac at the time. The ceremonial blessing and laying of the foundation stone was done on 29 July 1928 by Friar Krsta Belamarić, a canon of the Belgrade Cathedral chapter, with the assistance of parish priest from Šabac, Mladen Momčilović and in the presence of clergy and representatives of the town authorities. The land was a gift from municipality of Šabac. The ceremonial consecration was carried out on 21 October 1928. The parish was established in the same year. Two side altars with their statues of Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Anthony of Padua were consecrated on 3 November 1935. Linden wood statues, which are still in the church today, were made by Dragutin Horvat from Domžal near Ljubljana. They were consecrated by Petar Vlašić, consultor in the Archdiocese of Belgrade. As it was recorded, the parish had 800 believers at that time.
Mutual congratulations, meetings etc. between all members of social life were noticed and recorded in the then media. Also, the processions for feast of Corpus Christi on the town streets, where schoolchildren, town authorities, military, firefighters’ orchestra participated, were present then. Celebrations of Štrosmajer’s days were common too. Participation of Catholic believers from neighboring parishes of Đakovo-Srem diocese: Nikinci, Platičeva etc. was regular.
There were 31 baptisms, 13 deaths and 16 Catholic weddings in 1935.
The following year, there were 19 baptisms, 67 confirmations, 4 deaths and 5 Catholic weddings.
“We attended the service on the first day of Easter in the Orthodox Church and we were surprised by the poor visit. There were no traders, no craftsman, only a few; and there was no one to represent the officials except for two grammar school teachers. There was only one lawyer. While, the Catholic Church was completely full on Holy Saturday and on the first day of Easter. We conclude and sign this with the word: SAD.” (“Šabački glasnik”, 23/24 April 1936).
The territory of the parish includes Šabac and the area below Belgrade all the way to Bosnian border.
Besides the Franciscans, the parish was led by the Salesians, diocesan priests and by the priests of Neocatechumenal Way.
Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul were engaged in Šabac, but unfortunately, they left.