In 1910, Mr. and Mrs. George Bolus became the first two Catholics to settle in Wake Forest. Mr. Bolus was a traveling salesman who founded the George Bolus Department Store on White Street in Wake Forest. The third Catholic to settle in Wake Forest was Estelle (Fontan) Wilkinson of New Orleans, Louisiana, the bride of the late Robert Watson Wilkinson, Jr., M.D.
At first, the Catholics of Wake Forest had to travel to Raleigh for Sunday Mass. As the number of Catholics increased, a priest occasionally came to Wake Forest to celebrate Eucharist in the living room of Mr. and Mrs. Bolus, using an entry closet for a confessional.
Reverend John A. Beshel, the Chaplain of Nazareth Orphanage in Raleigh, was the priest ministering to the Catholics in Wake Forest during these formative years. In 1934, Father Beshel began to visit the Catholics in Wake Forest and to say Mass in the Bolus home every Sunday. He also taught catechism to the children after Mass. As time went on and the number of Catholics in Wake Forest increased (now more than thirty), the Bolus home became too small for worship services.
In 1892, the Catholic Extension Society of Chicago, Illinois built two identical chapel cars named St. Peter’s Chapel and St. Paul’s Chapel. Their cost was $35,000 each. Complete with bedroom and kitchen, priests would live in the mobile chapels as they were pulled to various parts of the country. Stopovers of a week or more in communities with no Catholic church were typical. Near the front of the car and just in back of the living quarters was the altar with all the trappings of an established church, kept immaculately clean and polished. There were seats for a congregation of sixty.
St. Peter’s Chapel was given to the Diocese of Raleigh in 1938. The Most Reverend Eugene J. McGuinnes parked the chapel car on a siding of the Seaboard Railroad in Wake Forest. Mass was celebrated in this chapel car every Sunday by Father Beshel and his successors from June 1938 until February 1940. A wood stove heated the chapel, and each family would take a turn in supplying the fuel and in lighting the fire.
After leaving Wake Forest, St. Peter’s Chapel brought the comforts of religion to Camp Butner in 1942 where it was used for two or three years. After the erection of military chapels, it was moved to Oxford where it served as a church for Catholics in that area until 1953. When it was demolished, the scrap metal that was saved from its remains was sold and the proceeds were used to purchase land toward the building of a new church in Oxford.
One of the visitors to Wake Forest in the late 1930’s was the Papal Countess Katherine E. Price of Greenwich, Connecticut. She was surprised that Wake Forest, being a college town, was without a Catholic Church. She therefore donated a very large sum of money to one of her relatives, the Most Reverend Eugene J. McGuiness, Bishop of Raleigh, asking that the money be used for the construction of a church and rectory in Wake Forest.
Bishop McGuiness informed Mrs. Bolus that he would build a church in Wake Forest, and together with Mr. Ellis Nassif, located a perfect piece of property on the corner at 701 South Main Street. The Bishop purchased the land that was owned by the Town of Wake Forest.
Construction of the new church and rectory at 701 South Main Street began in the fall of 1939 and was completed in February 1940. Mr. Frank Frimmer, of Tampa, Florida, was hired as architect, and in respecting the wishes of Mr. and Mrs. George Bolus, the pioneer Catholic settlers of Wake Forest, the new church was constructed of huge granite stones from a quarry in Rolesville, a town outside of Wake Forest.
The church is modified Gothic on the exterior with a traditional bell tower. The architecture inside is of the Roman type, with a barrel ceiling, but without the columns of a basilica. Behind the main altar of the church is a sacristy, eighty feet long by twenty six feet wide.
The rectory, that forms a right angle with the rear of the church, is a two-story stone cottage, thirty-six by thirty feet in size. Beneath the church and rectory is a spacious cellar.
On the first floor of the rectory, there were an office, a parlor, a dining room, a kitchen, a bedroom, a small chapel and a bath. The attic had two rooms that could be used as bedrooms. The church and rectory including the church furniture (but not the organ) cost $19,805. The church had twelve beautiful stained glass windows: 1. The Baptism of Jesus; 2. Saint John the Evangelist; 3. Saint Luke the Evangelist; 4. Moses and the Law; 5. The Fall of Adam and Eve; 6. The Holy Family; 7. Saint Thomas Aquinas; 8. Saint Matthew the Evangelist; 9. Saint Mark the Evangelist; and 10. The Agony in the Garden. Over the altar, there was a large rose window portraying Saint Catherine of Siena praying before the Madonna and Child. In the choir loft, there was a large rosette of stained glass. The cost of the window of Saint Catherine praying before the Madonna and the Child was, in itself, a little over $2,000. In October of 1959, all of the stained glass windows were valued in excess of $18,000.
On February 25, 1940, the new church and rectory were dedicated. The church was named Saint Catherine of Siena in honor of the patron saint of the donor, Papal Countess Katherine E. Price of Greenwich, Connecticut. Bishop Eugene J. McGuiness officiated at the dedication ceremony and was the celebrant of the Pontifical Mass. The Reverend John A. Beshel of Regina Apostolorum Mission Center of the North Carolina Apostolate Nazareth, delivered the dedication sermon, and Papal Countess Katherine E. Price was a most special guest at the ceremony. The church and rectory continue to stand today in 2007.
A finance school was started at Wake Forest College after the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, and approximately one thousand soldiers enrolled in the school, residing in Wake Forest. Three hundred of these soldiers were Catholic, necessitating an additional Mass to be celebrated at St. Catherine’s every Sunday for the duration of the war.
The first marriage celebrated at Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church was that of George Fullerton and Felicia Kulig on June 9, 1940. On December 12, 1942, James Austin Miller, a soldier became the first person to be baptized in the church. Thomas Joseph Byrne, the son of Thomas J. and Sue Nichols Byrne, was the first infant baptized on November 12, 1943.
Reverend Edward L. Gross was installed as the first resident pastor of Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church on March 27, 1940. He remained pastor until Aprill 1944, when he was replaced by Reverend J. Jerome Hickey.
Reverend James Tevlin became pastor in January 1946. During his pastorate, a group of Irish Travelers encamped in Wake Forest and he said Mass for them on the first Friday of every month. These tourists provided Saint Catherine of Siena with its largest confirmation class. In September 1946, the Most Reverend Vincent S. Waters conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation on twenty-two persons, with Mr. Ellis Nassif and his wife Elizabeth, serving as sponsors.
Father Tevlin celebrated Mass every Sunday and holy days in both Wake Forest and Wendell. In 1947, he built Saint Eugene’s Church in Wendell, the first daughter parish of St. Catherine of Siena Parish.
On April 1, 1948, Reverend John Hyland succeeded Father Tevlin as pastor of Wake Forest and Wendell. He was also the first superior of Bishop Water’s Missionary Apostolate. Wake Forest became headquarters for the Missionary Fathers. The purpose of Missionary Apostolate was to preach missions and retreats to the Catholic people throughout the state and to carry the message of the Gospel to non-Catholics. They did so from a mobile trailer-chapel called, the Madonna of the Highways.
A large thirty by thirty-six foot garage was constructed behind the church to house this trailer-chapel. This trailer was dedicated on May 6, 1948 by the Apostolic Delegate, the Most Reverend Amleto Cicognani, at the annual convention of the North Carolina Catholic Laymen Association in Wilmington. The rear end of the trailer opened to contain the altar and all that were necessary for celebrating Mass. Along with celebrating Mass, they preached and administered the sacraments in towns and villages where there was no Catholic church.
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal motor chapel, together with the Madonna of the Highways, the Diocese of Raleigh’s first motor chapel, would be used in the summer months to spread good will and the teachings of Christ throughout North Carolina. North Carolina had more paved roads than any other state except Texas. Taking religion to the hinterlands of the modern highways was like the faith being first carried throughout the world on Roman roads. At this time, the population of North Carolina was 4,500,000 and the Diocese of Carolina was 52,249 square miles. These motor chapels were used on many occasions in Wake Forest, and we have been rewarded more than a hundred times over.
Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church endured the 1940’s through the war years, and continued in worship during the 50’s when Saint Catherine’s was privileged to welcome five new pastors. Reverend John F. Roueche was appointed pastor of Wake Forest and Wendell on March 31, 1949, followed by Reverend Frederick A. Koch, Reverend Cranor F. Graves, Reverend James R. Jones, and Reverend Robert E. McMahon on May 29, 1959. On November 13, 1959, Father McMahon, who was also Vice-Chancellor of the Diocese, was granted permission to repair the stained glass, place a new roof on the motor chapel garage and repair the roof of the church and rectory. Also in 1959, Saint Catherine acquired a new heating system and was able to repaint the rectory.
It was noted by Father McMahon, that the rectory in need of a new stove. To everyone’s surprise, a donation was made from a Raleigh parishioner, and father McMahon offered to cook him a meal on this new stove, and always keep the donor in his prayers. In February 1962 Father McMahon was reassigned, and for four months Reverend Ronald McLaughlin was at Saint Catherine. Following him as pastors were Reverend Francis R. Moeslein, Reverend Francis Donnellan, S.S.E. and Reverend John B. Para, S.S.E. who remained in Wake Forest until August 1965.
Father Donnellan implemented the Decrees of Vatican II in the Liturgy. Once again, Mass was celebrated facing the people, and in the vernacular. Reverend Oliva Langlois, S.S.E. was pastor from 1965, followed in 1966 by Reverend Joseph N. Couture, S.S.E.
On Sunday, August 14, 1966 at approximately 4:45 a.m., a large transport tractor trailer proceeding north on South Main Street struck and knocked down a power pole, trees, and bushes which ran across the front lawn of the church. The tractor struck the large marble statue of the Sacred Heart standing on the lawn, ripped up its granite base and foundation, and flung both the statue and the base against the south wall, which is constructed of granite blocks. The wall was pushed in at the floor level and cracked considerably. The interior of the wall and its facing were also damaged, and the floor of the church buckled. It was apparent that the beams supporting the floor were moved. The impact caused a severe shock to the structure itself, resulting in cracks and dislocations which appeared especially at the rear of the church and in the choir loft. Pews were also damaged as was a stained glass window. After many months of estimating the damage and negotiating, the insurance company paid for the repairs.
On January 1, 1967, the first bulletin was printed and distributed to the parishoners of Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church. After receiving favorable comments concerning the bulletin, the parish determined to continue the bulletin on a weekly basis.
On Wednesday, March 22, 1967 the rectory was attached to the Town of Wake Forest’s sewage system. New water pipes were installed at a cost of $390. By October of the same year, Saint Catherine’s had twenty families or 77 practicing Catholics, including 35 children. On May 28, 1968, twin boys received their First Holy Communion, a first in the history of the parish. There were also four weddings at Saint Catherine’s during 1968, as many as there had been during the previous five years.
On November 23, 1969, Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church was included in the Wake Forest Tour of Homes for the Wake Forest Newcomers Club. The tour cost $1.50. The description of our house of worship stated that this was a modified Gothic on the exterior and a Roman type architectural interior with a barrel ceiling. It described the twelve beautiful stained glass windows that depict the Baptism of Jesus and the Holy Family, as well as the large round window portraying the patroness of the Church, Saint Catherine of Siena praying before the Madonna and the Child.
Reverend Oliva Langlois, S.S.E. returned to Saint Catherine’s as pastor in 1970. In 1977, the first Parish Council was established. The members were: Col. E.S. Goepper, Chairman; Mr. John Simmons, Vice Chairman; Mrs. Edward (Peg) Lilly; Mr. Donald Plitt; Mrs. E.S. (Lorry) Goepper; Mr. Leo Minervini, III, Secretary and Mr. Frank Tully.
From time to time it was necessary to repair and maintain the stained glass windows. On one such occasion, work was completed on the stained glass windows during the week ending September 11, 1977. A check was forwarded to Stained Glass Associated. In response to an appeal for donations to cover this expense, some parishioners of Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church increased their offering by a few dollars.
On September 4, 1977 at about 2:00 a.m., firemen from Wake Forest were summoned to Saint Catherine of Siena Cathlic Church at 701 South Main Street because of a fire that broke out in the rectory. Thanks to our good firemen, the flames confined to only one bedroom, were kept from spreading to the entire building. Left behind were black smoke and water damage throughout the second floor and attic, in addition to sooty carpet on both floors. Thankfully we were fully insured. The rectory had to be vacated for extensive repairs, and Father Langlois had to take up residence temporarily at the Plantation Inn in Raleigh.
On the afternoon of Monday August 27, 1979 at approximately 5:30 p.m. lightning struck the stone bell tower of Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church. The force of the lightning bolt caused the concrete coping to slide off the sloped bell tower room bringing additional stone and mortar onto the roof and structure below. The roofing, framing, flashing, gutters, etc., were also damaged. In addition to the structural damage to the bell tower’s supporting arch, there was some minor water damage to the building’s interior. After many meetings with architects, building contractors, insurance companies, and the dedicated members of Saint Catherine’s repairs were completed by May 1980. The construction cost alone was in excess of $17,400.
Reverend William L. Pitts was appointed pastor of Saint Catherine’s in 1978, also having survived the bout of lightning in 1979 and the many months of repairs and reconstruction. The bell, in its tower, began to again ring loud and clear.
The 1980’s brought a 40th anniversary of Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, celebrated on Sunday April 27, 1980 with a concert dedicated to three lovely ladies who made Wake Forest their home: Mrs. Elizabeth Nassif, Mrs. Estelle Wilkinson, and of course, Saint Catherine of Siena, our patroness. A survey investigating the adequacy of our present facilities was taken earlier in the year and predicted that the parish population would double in the next five years. Many felt we might triple in size by 1990. Concerns were expressed not only for church facilities, but with regards to educational facilities, a possible parish center, a permanent residency for Priest or Pastor, and enlarged parking facilities. Parishioners decided that a parish center was their primary need.
In the fall of 1980, lots 35 and 36 were purchased from the neighbor next door, Mrs. F.H. Wilkinson, of 713 South Main Street. Some parishioners made “up front” contributions, while others pledged regular payments lasting from four to fifteen months amounting to approximately $21,000. Various companies also made donations of material and labor toward the realization of a parish center. The debt was retired and the loan of $6,000 from the Diocese was paid within three years. Many years had passed since February 25, 1940, and again and again the parishioners of Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church proved they could do anything they set their minds to do. Few people had resources to make a significant contribution alone, yet, many individuals together made the difference.
Immediately after the construction of the center, the church and rectory were painted and a new heating system was installed. The slate roof was once again repaired, and during this period of renovations Saint Catherine’s parish family experienced a first – air conditioning!
Reverend Francis Moeslein came to Saint Catherine’s a pastor in the summer of 1983. In 1984 the parish saw the loan on the Center paid off and the parking lot behind the center paved. Bob and Betty Horky celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary that same year. Reverend John A. Ranalli became Saint Catherine’s 16th pastor on July 9, 1985 sharing time between Saint Catherine and our daughter parish Saint Eugene in Wendell, residing at St. Eugene’s. In November 1985, the Saint Catherine’s Ladies Guild was established and the first officers were: Betty Horky, President; carol Robinson, Vice President; Biven Anderson, Treasurer and Trudy Semaske, Secretary. Their ministry has been actively involved in the life of the parish. They have sponsored countless receptions, they have prayed for and supported the sick and those in local nursing homes, and have had numerous fundraisers to benefit our parish family.
The first Parish Finance Committee was appointed in 1986, as the parish approached its earlier predictions of growth. At this time Father John A. Ranalli consulted with Parish Council members regarding a search for property in order to address the parish’s future needs.
In September 1986, Sister Joanne DiGiovanni, a Sister of Mercy, was hired as Pastoral Assistant at Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church. The summer before her arrival, parishioners made some necessary improvements to the rectory that included a new kitchen, carpet, and paint. Sister Joanne and Sister Regina Haney, moved into the rectory in the fall of 1986. Along with the growth in North Carolina, there was an increase in the Catholic population in the Diocese. One concern that surfaced was the diminishing number of priests available to serve current and future population in the Diocese.
In May of 1987 Father John A. Ranalli was given a new appointment, and Bishop Gossman appointed Sister Joanne as Pastoral Administrator of Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church. Reverend Thomas J. Gaul assumed these duties on July 11, 1987.
In the spring of 1988 renovations of the interior of the church were initiated. These began after Easter and were completed in June. Once again, the parishioners of Saint Catherine of Siena were available and anxious to donate their labor and love. The total cost of this renovation was approximately $7,500.
In May 1988, the pastoral council approved the establishment of a Land Committee whose task was to search for property for the future expansion of the parish. Membership had actually doubled in those past five years, with a total of 170 households. The original members of the Land Committee were Biven Anderson, Jim Cartlidge, Bill Robinson, Joe and Mary Leveille, and later joined by Bob Horky, Bob Luddy, Gaylord Picard and R. Watson Wilkinson. The committee members viewed several twenty acre sites during eighteen months of time. The committee finally located acreage on West Holding Avenue adjacent to the Tyler Run subdivision, and after eight months of negotiations and meetings with the Diocesan Committees, Saint Catherine of Siena Parish saw the possibility of obtaining 18.625 acres of land for its future home. The total purchase price of the land located on West Holding Avenue was $173,212.50. In November, 1989, town meetings held with the parish membership obtained approval of this land purchase. The parish paid $73,212.50 and obtained a loan from the Diocese of Raleigh for the remaining $100,000 at 9.45%.
Along with their hopes and dreams for the future, parishioners continued to meet the challenges they faced, with weekly additions of young families with children to our parish along with their needs for additional services and education. The parish’s religious education program expanded under the volunteer direction of Lita Barr and Kathy McDaniel. Additional staff members were required to assist Sister Joanne with high school/youth ministry programs and additional CCD classes. Sister Joanne applied for a national grant to enable her to hire a professional Director of Religious Education (DRE). The parish was honored and delighted to receive this national award of $45,000 over three years. Sister Joanne then hired Martina Young as the first professional DRE who became a full time staff member of Saint Catherine’s in the fall of 1989. The parish rented a house on Holding Ave to provide office and nursery space as well as an additional classroom for CCD and other meetings. In November 1989 Reverend William Kowal was assigned as the parish’s Sacramental Minister.
As the parish entered the 1990’s, it participated in its first “Increased Offertory Campaign” that was planned and coordinated by the Parish Finance Committee. Parishioners responded in their typical fashion by nearly doubling their average weekly offering during each of the first three weeks after the appeal. In anticipation of celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the dedication of Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, an Anniversary Committee was formed consisting of General Chairperson Jane Haga, and her steering committee David and Blanche Malinoski and Joe and Connie Mangum. The anniversary was to be celebrated on February 25, 1990 and three events were marked for this occasion. There would be a catered dinner scheduled for February 25, a parish picnic on April 29th and an Oktoberfest in the fall.
The 1990’s revealed an explosion of the predicted Catholic population in the Diocese, and the parish found itself now ministering to over 200 families. In April 1993 the parish embarked upon a major building fund campaign to raise a minimum of $500,000 to build a building to be placed on the new land. The parish estimated that $464,000 could be expected from the sale of the original property on Main Street. Trees that would have to be removed could be sold, and food vouchers to parishioners were also proposed. The parish hoped to borrow $436,000 from the Diocese. These two figures together with a campaign fund of $500,000 would bring the total resources to $1,400,000. This would cover what was termed Phase I Construction costs.
The campaign was called “Place for God’s Children to Grow.” It was explained that if parishioners were able to make larger initial gifts to the campaign the resulting smaller balance over the life of the building fund loan with the Diocese would save the church interest. The parish accepted gifts of stock and property donations, and memorial opportunities were also encouraged. The campaign was a tremendous success, again showing the love and devotion of the members of Saint Catherine of Siena.
Father Richard W. Turner was assigned to Saint Catherine’s by Bishop Gossman in 1993, and served as Pastor while a new “multi-purpose” building was built on the new land in 1997. The building was to house the parish’s sanctuary and offices, and establish Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic School. The parish had grown to 450 families at the time it moved into the new building at Holding Avenue in 1997.
A few months after the opening of the new multi-purpose building, in mid-1997, Father Thomas Tully followed Father Turner as Pastor.
Father Tully was here to see saint Catherine grow from pre-school classes and kindergarten to adding a new year each fall term.
In 1999, Saint Catherine’s saw the founding of its second daughter parish, Our Lady of the Rosary in Louisburg.
Our Parish Today: July 2000 to April 2007
In the summer of 2000, Father Tully left St. Catherine’s to become the first Director of the Diocese of Raleigh’s new Permanent Diaconate Program.
Father Robert J. Kus became Pastor of St. Catherine’s on July 11, 2000. Much has happened in our parish since then. St Catherine of Siena Catholic School has grown from its original kindergarten class to eight grades Pre-K 3 through Seventh Grade.
In 2000, Saint Catherine’s conducted a Millennium Capital Campaign and raised over $270,000. In 2001 St. Catherine’s was privileged to serve as one of eight Pilot Parishes of the Diocese of Raleigh for the first Diocesan capital campaign ever. The goal was $1.3 million and the parish received $2.1 million in pledges.
Since July of 2000, St. Catherine’s has expanded its faculty and staff. Among new staff positions created since then include Business Manager, Development Director, Finance Director, Faith Formation Assistant and Building Engineer.
In 2000 & 2001, the parish was an active affiliate of Maryknoll Associates with sister parishes in San Pedro Sula, Honduras (Our Lady of Suyapa) and in Uganda, East Africa (Mudumma Parish Archdiocese of Kampala). Father Richard Muwonge, the Pastor of Mudumma was a guest of our parish for several weeks in the fall of 2001.
In December 2001, St Catherine’s purchased 20.5 acres of land contiguous and west of the original parcel bringing our total property size to 43 acres. The total cost of this land was $800,000. In spring of 2002, St Catherine’s had ground breaking for its $454,000 new four room classroom school building called the Trinity Center. It opened for students in February of 2003. In addition, Saint Catherine’s School built three modular classroom buildings. The first of these buildings was completed in the fall of 2004, and the other two were completed in the fall of 2006 at a cost of $240,000. This new six-classroom complex houses grades 4-7, media center, and eventually 8th grade in the 2008-2009 school year.
In January 2002, Saint Catherine of Siena completed the construction of a new permanent rectory at 426 Tyler Run Drive in Wake Forest. This effort was made possible by Thomas J. and Sue Nichols Byrne who donated the land, Bob Neal who built it at cost, and Catherine McNeeb for her generous financial contribution. In July of 2006 Father Robert J. Kus was transferred to St. Mary’s in Wilmington and Bishop Gossman assigned Father John G. Parish to be the new Pastor of Saint Catherine’s.
Father John Parish brought many gifts to the parish and school. He was always known to bring a smile to children’s faces and extend the gentle pastoral care for which he was known. The parish suffered a terrible loss on July 23, 2007 when only after a year at St. Catherine’s, God called his faithful servant and Priest to himself at the early age of 48. In the midst of tremendous shock and grief, the parish rallied to welcome his many friends, family and brother Priests for the funeral liturgies. In the following weeks and months, the parish was assisted by visiting Priests and administered by the able care of Mrs. Sue Gammon.
In October, the Bishop appointed, Fr. Philip Tighe of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rocky Mount as Pastor. Fr. Tighe was installed on November 8, 2007, the same weekend the parish was celebrating their annual Fall Harvest Days Festival.
On the weekend of September 28th, 2008, the parish hosted the Youth 2000 Eucharistic Retreat for Youth and attracted over 600 youth from across the Diocese. Bishop Burbidge celebrated the closing Mass for the retreat and in the midst of a torrential downpour of rain, the Bishop processed the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance and under a canopy through a corridor of drenched teenagers. As they struggled in the rain to keep their candles lit, the youth formed over a 900 foot corridor through which he passed. The youth genuflected as the Blessed Sacrament passed by and made its way to the opening of the St. Catherine’s Perpetual Adoration Chapel.
The Perpetual Adoration Chapel is named The Chapel of Jesus our Eternal Priest and is dedicated to an increase in vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life. In the chapel, the Lord is adored constantly by the faithful who come and go all throughout the day and night. Along with the Celebration of the Holy Sacrafice of the Mass, which is the font and source of all Catholic life, Perpetual Adoration of Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament brings great joy to God and calls many souls to imitate Jesus in daily life. Numerous blessings are recorded daily in the book of Favor’s Granted. Over 600 parishioners adore and guard the Blessed Sacrament 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and enjoy the quiet company of his loving presence. Each year over 20,000 hours of adoration are logged by the faithful who come to adore daily Jesus Christ, in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
In July of 2009, Bishop Burbidge appointed Fr. Jim Dull as Parochial Vicar. Fr. Jim, a Priest from the Diocese of Newark, NJ was returning to ministry and quickly became involved in the parish life and prayer life of St. Catherine of Siena parish. On Thanksgiving weekend 2009, Fr. Jim fell ill and was hospitalized. He declined rapidly and died shortly thereafter. Again, the parish suffered the loss of a Priest in a short period of time and drew closer to one another. Fr. Jim, a dedicated and faithful Priest was able to bring his 36 years of the Priesthood to uplift and encourage so many with his peaceful way and compassionate heart.
In 2009, the parish began a debt reduction campaign and in a year and a half was able to pay off nearly $1.2 Million in debt which was left over from the land that was purchased in 2006. The parish continued to attract families and experienced tremendous growth. The number of registered families grew from 554 families in mid-1997 to over 3100 families in 2010. The phenomenal growth presented the parishioners with significant challenges. The sanctuary that was designed for 470 people and had become woefully inadequate.
The parish hired Architect Jim O’Brien of O’Brien and Keane in Virginia to assist them with the building plans and concepts. Through numerous town hall meetings with parishioners and site studies, the parish received approval from the Bishop and his councils to move ahead in planning the future campus plan of St. Catherine of Siena Parish. A Quiet Campaign was initiated in December of 2009 and the parish continues its planning to meet the blessed growth which the Lord has sent. ………… (to be continued)
Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church600 West Holding AvenueWake Forest, North Carolina 27587Phone: (919) 570-0070Fax: (919) 570-0071Email