Our parish was founded in 1950 for approximately 200 families and has grown to more than 2,400 families.
The Diocese of Rochester purchased a 23-acre former farm (hence the name of the Barn, which currently houses our Pre-Kindergarten program and Art room for the school). Early in 1950, St. Margaret Mary parish had dedicated a new church in Irondequoit and their original church was to be demolished. Through the combined efforts of men from St. Michael parish and men from West Webster, the building was carefully taken apart and rebuilt on the site at Maple Dr. Five months from the original ground-breaking, the building was ready for use. This was a wonderful tribute to the faith, hard work, and dedication of the nucleus that was to become St. Rita parish, and also to St. Rita, the saint of “the impossible”.
On September 5, 1950, Father Kleehammer, our first pastor, moved into a storage room at the back of the church, where he lived for almost a year until he moved into the newly built rectory. The parish grew rapidly.
In June of 1954, Father Richard O’Connell became our first assistant pastor. With the growth of the parish came plans to construct a school. Through the generosity of the parishioners, a ten room school was opened in September 1955 with four Sisters of Mercy and six lay teachers. The Sisters were living in three different homes at the time, so it was decided to build the convent, which was completed in August of 1966.
Co-pastors Father Jim Burke and Father John Reif started in 1978. Because of the need to bring the old church to modern standards, Bishop Clark broke ground for a new church building in June of 1982 and the structure, which stands in the current location, was finished in 1983. The building was dedicated in 1984 and Father Reif officiated at the first mass.
As the parish grew, numerous committees needed meeting space, the school needed a gym, and the kitchen - which had been in the Barn - needed to be updated. The Parish Center was built from 1994-1995. The design connected the existing school on one side to the church on the other side. The end result appeared to resemble two arms reaching out to embrace St. Rita parish family.
We look back with pride at our past accomplishments and look forward to the future here at St. Rita. We are blessed to belong to a great parish community.