Parish History

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Parish History 2016-12-07T21:05:02+00:00

Parish History

The history of Saint Pius X begins with the founding of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in 1944. When the Trappist monks arrived, they constructed several buildings. The first Catholic families in Rockdale County celebrated Mass with the Monks in one of those buildings. In 1958 a permanent chapel was erected for the 80 people attending Mass. As this chapel was being built, Pope Pius X was canonized and thus our name was chosen – Saint Pius X Mission. During the next decade the number of Catholics in the area increased slowly, but steadily. To accommodate the growth, three Masses were celebrated. The fall of 1973 brought Sister Lynne Nault of Sts. Peter and Paul to serve as Pastoral Assistant. She updated records, instituted a weekly bulletin and coordinated the religious education program.

By the beginning of 1974 the needs of the community for a full-time pastor, a larger church and an educational facility became increasingly apparent. A request was made to Archbishop Donnellan to establish a parish in Rockdale County. Saint Pius X officially became a parish on July 8, 1974. At that time there were 125 families registered. Rev. Paul Fogarty, a native of Ireland, was appointed first Pastor. Father Fogarty’s first priority was to find a larger building in which to celebrate Mass and conduct religious education classes. Mr. and Mrs. Waldo Bowen of White’s Funeral Home generously allowed Masses to be celebrated in their chapel. Arrangements were made with the Rockdale County recreation Department for religious education classes to be held at the Milstead Recreation Center. These sites were the location of the major parish activities for two years.

In November of 1974, 7.3 acres of land on Hwy 20 were purchased as a site for the parish complex. By March of 1975 a building committee was formed and building plans were formulated and submitted for approval to the Archbishop. The groundbreaking for the new church was held on April 25,1976. Actual construction was begun in early June. As the building neared completion, the granite altar was transferred from the Monastery Chapel. The first Mass was celebrated on November 21, 1976. Archbishop Donnellan blessed and dedicated the new building on March 27, 1977. Saint Pius X now had 230 families. Rev. Paul Fogarty remained Pastor until June of 1983 when Rev. Patrick Mulhern was appointed. Father Melhern led the parish until January of 1987 when Rev. Douglas Edwards was appointed Pastor.

In July of 1987 Rev. John Walsh became Pastor and remained Pastor for nine years. Father Charles Kerscher, a semi-retired priest, joined the parish in July of 1988 and remained at the parish until he died in 2006.Father Walsh saw the need for a larger sanctuary. Under his guidance, a building committee was formed to explore the possibilities of erecting a new sanctuary. It was decided to build a new sanctuary, preserve the original church as a chapel and connect all of the buildings of the church complex. As the Catholic population of Rockdale County increased, the needs of the parish grew and in 1990 the two–story, fifteen-classroom religious education center and parish center were constructed under Father Walsh’s leadership. After Rev. John Kieran was assigned as Pastor in November 1996, on May 17, 1999 the groundbreaking ceremony was held. As the months passed, we watched with anxious anticipation our new sanctuary taking shape. The altar originally used in the chapel at the monastery and then in the first church was moved into the new sanctuary. With it came the memories of all the Masses said at Saint Pius X, be they joyous or sad, they will remain with the church for as long as this building stands. On July 13th the first Mass was held in the new sanctuary, followed by formal consecration by Archbishop Donaghue on September 11, 1999.

In anticipation of our 30th anniversary the parish community decided that several major capital improvements should be completed. These included: Extending the parking area; replacing the organ; replacing all the original heat/air units; refurbishing the Day Chapel; Enlarging the ball field; and improving the speaker system in church. A very successful capital funds campaign was completed under the leadership of Michael Hilleboe. In recent years parish membership has reflected the multi-national unit of the county. The Sunday Mass in Spanish has become our largest congregation. The Spanish speaking and people of African descent make the fastest growing segment of our parish. Over the years our successive Pastoral Councils have strongly pursued our parish mission statement which embodies the spirit and intent of our patron: “To bring all things into one under Christ’s leadership.”

On July, 2013, Rev. John Kieran retired and Rev. Randall Mattox was assigned as Pastor. On May 21, 2014, Rev. Mattox held a Town Hall Meeting, to present “The 2014 St. Pius X Facilities Renewal Project.” The plan includes enhancements to the Sanctuary, to the Administrative area, Front Entry and the relocation of the Risen Christ.

On July, 2015, Rev. Randall Mattox was assigned to St. James Catholic Church in Madison, GA, and Rev. Gregory Goolsby was assigned as Pastor (read about it here!