In 1902 Cardinal Gibbons gave permission to build a Catholic Church in Severna Park to be named St. Agnes and to be staffed by Redemptorists. In January 1927 a site was selected on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard for the new church, and on September 14, 1927 the dedication and first mass was held for St. John's Church. In 1959 Archbishop Francis Keogh realized that St. John's could no longer be a mission church of St. Mary's in Annapolis and that the little brown church on Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd. could no longer house the growing population. Therefore in June 1959 Archbishop Keogh named St. John's as an independent parish and appointed Fr. Joseph Raley as the first resident pastor.
Since property had been purchased in 1957 from Mrs. Elizabeth Tecl, Fr. Raley immediately began the construction of a convent, school, and rectory on approximately 12 acres at the southeast corner of Ritchie Highway and Cypress Creek Road. Ground was broken for the new church building in May 1963. The architects, Gaudreau and Gaudreau, completed the church in 1964 and it was formally dedicated on May 10, 1964. The church is in a striking cruciform shape and approximately 1200 parishioners can gather at one time to praise God.
After 22 years of dedicated service, Fr. Raley in failing health retired as pastor on January 3, 1981. He passed away on March 31, 1988 and a plaque in his memory hangs in the vestibule of the main entrance to the church.
Upon Fr. Raley's retirement Archbishop William D. Borders appointed Fr. Edward Staub as the second pastor of St. John's parish. Many changes and improvements have been made to the inside of the church since Msgr. Staub became pastor, including the installation of a beautiful pipe organ in 1984.
Important milestones include:
1927 The original St. John the Evangelist Church dedicated First Mass.
1951 Construction of our Parish Hall was begun.
1959 St. John the Evangelist Parish became an independent parish and Reverend Joseph E. Raley was named Pastor.
1960 The School, Rectory, and Convent were completed.
1964 The current St. John the Evangelist Church dedicated First Mass.
Reverend Monsignor Edward F. Staub assumed responsibility as pastor of St. John's on January 18, 1982. Under his leadership, many parish ministries were initiated for prayer, outreach to the poor and hungry, visitation to the homebound parishioners, adult education and youth ministry. In 1997, the parish needed to address the needs of growth in numbers of families and the current facilities. In planning, Msgr. Staub and the parish felt that a number of additions were needed to the existing parish plant. Under the title of "Sharing our Blessings, Building our future," an ambitious building campaign was started for the projected amount of 4.5 million dollars. After much planning and sacrifice, the groundbreaking occurred on December 4, 1999 for the construction of five additional classrooms, a Religious Education and Youth Ministry Center, Parish Library, Church Gathering Space and Meeting Room. In addition, major renovations occurred to four existing school classrooms to provide a new computer lab, language lab, science lab and administrative space.
In the midst of so much activity to plan for the future of St. John, a time of sadness visited the parish at Monsignor Edward Staub's death on May 12, 2000. Cardinal Keeler, accompanied by over 100 priests and a full church of staff and parishioners, celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial for Monsignor Staub. Archbishop William D. Borders, Msgr. Staub's dear friend preached the homily.
On June 14, 2000, Fr. Mitchell T. Rozanski arrived as the temporary administrator of St. John with his primary task of seeing through the completion of the building project. With William Cardinal Keeler, the entire parish joined in celebrating the dedication of so many years' work on Sunday, November 26, 2000. In January of 2001, Fr. Rozanski was officially named the third pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church. The parish continued to flourish under the leadership of Father Rozanski. In early 2004, Pope John Paul named Fr. Rozanski a monsignor and that summer named him Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore. Currently, Bishop Rozanski serves as the Vicar of the Seton Vicariate, which includes the parish of St. John the Evangelist.
Father George Gannon, the associate pastor was assigned as temporary administrator soon after Bishop Rozanski was ordained bishop on August 24, 2004 and remained in that position until January of 2005 when Msgr. Richard Woy was named pastor. Msgr. Woy led the parish with enthusiasm, instituting a formalized planning process in the parish and strengthening its infra-structure. He guided us with strong administrative and pastoral skills.
In November of 2008, Msgr. Richard Woy was named Vicar General by Archbishop O' Brien. Msgr. Robert Jaskot was assigned as the administrator at St. John's pending the appointment of a new pastor.
On July 1, Fr. James Proffitt arrived as the fifth pastor of St. John's and was formally installed by Bishop Mitchell Rozanski on August 29, 2009.
Today, we have a parish family of over 3,300 families, an excellent parish school that has been named a national Blue Ribbon school, an active religious education program, and spiritual and social activities for all ages. We continue to strive to be the presence of our Risen Lord in our local Severna Park community and beyond.