Catholics have been gathering together in the town of Ritzville since before 1899, when the first Catholic church was built there. At that time, Ritzville was a brand new community, having gotten its start in the 1880s. Not long after the first church was constructed, a violent windstorm in 1904 did such damage to the building that it had to be completely demolished and rebuilt.
The new church, situated on “Nob Hill” in southwest Ritzville, was placed under the patronage of St. Agnes and dedicated in 1908. It served as home for the Catholic community in Ritzville until the 1960s. By then, the congregation had outgrown its little church on the hill and needed a larger place to accommodate its worship and parish activities. The old church is still standing; one can see it at 701 W. Main Ave. It is currently home to the New Hope Center, a nondenominational Pentecostal community in Ritzville.
The new St. Agnes Catholic Church, located at 404 E. 5th Avenue, was completed and dedicated in 1965, and is still in use today.
Like most parishes, St. Agnes has seen many pastors throughout the years. The dymanics of the Church in rural areas, together with the growth and decline of many small towns, have necessitated the rearrangement of parish boundaries and the sharing of pastors with other (relatively) nearby communities. In recent years, a series of parish administrators and a variety of priests have served the parish, ensuring the continuation of the sacramental life of the St. Agnes community.
The current pastor, Rev. Kenneth St. Hilaire, has served in that capacity since July 2013. He is shared with the parishes of St. Joseph in Odessa and Sacred Heart in Wilbur.
The people of St. Agnes parish are strong in their faith and have weathered many storms throughout their history. This is a tightly-knit family that is always ready to receive new members. Visitors find a warm welcome and a genuine spirit of fellowship in Jesus Christ. Parishioners support one another in difficult times and come to the assistance of those in need. Grounded firmly in the Catholic Faith and always seeking the prompting of the Holy Spirit, St. Agnes Catholic Church strives to be the hands and heart of Jesus in the world today.