HISTORY OF ST. PIUS X ROMAN CATHOLIC PARISH
From its inception, our parish of St. Pius X has always maintained its character as a mission parish. In 1954, Monsignor Hugh A. Dolan, then Pastor of St. Benedict’s Parish and Bishop Vincent S. Waters of the Raleigh Diocese, purchased 14.2 acres of land at the northeast corner of North Elm Street and East Cornwallis Drive. At the time, this was the edge of the city and Elm Street was unpaved north of Cornwallis. Our Catholic school, named in honor of Pope Pius X who was canonized the year before, was built on the new grounds and opened in 1955. St. Pius X School and its chapel operated as a mission of St. Benedict’s Church until July 15, 1960 when we became an independent parish of the Raleigh Diocese.
Monsignor Dolan was an active community leader, communicating the church’s message in print and through local media outlets, striving to better the lives of the poor and less fortunate. He helped lead our community as an early proponent of racial equality and ecumenical values.
In 1975, Monsignor Lawrence Newman, a strong advocate of Catholic education, succeeded Monsignor Dolan. He was followed in 1977 by Monsignor William Pharr, who led efforts to build a church so that the community would no longer worship in the school chapel, a space under the current Alumni Auditorium. Father George Kloster assumed leadership of our Parish in 1979, remaining until 1988.The successful parish spiritual renewal program called Jubilee and our international cooperation with a mission in Peru began during his pastorate. While adapted somewhat, these vibrant ministries continue to this day.
Following Father George, Father Frank Cintula was named pastor from 1988 until 1990. He was succeeded by four years of Franciscan pastoral leadership. The Franciscan Center in downtown Greensboro began at this time. The Franciscans also became responsible for Campus Ministry at NC A&T and Bennett College, a relationship that continued into the pastorate of Monsignor Marcaccio until a priest chaplain was assigned to them full time. The parish returned to diocesan leadership with Father Frank Connolly’s pastorate from 1994 until July 2000. During this time, a parish center and the middle school wing were added to the campus. The athletic center was also constructed and named for Father Frank Connolly.
Monsignor Anthony Marcaccio began his pastorate here in 2000 and has led the parish during a time of unprecedented growth and activity. Since his arrival, endowments have been established for the parish and the school. St. Pius X was the first parish to achieve one million dollars in endowments in the Diocesan Foundation. The parish purchased the rectory on North Elm Street and the Columbarium and bell tower were constructed in 2006.
In order to accommodate the increased mass attendance, we began the capital campaign “To Make a Place at the Table,” resulting in our new church and chapel, which were dedicated on April 17, 2010 by Bishop Peter Jugis. The school building was also renovated at the same time to tie the entire campus together aesthetically.
Having completed the church and the cloister, the parish turned its focus to building a beautiful, large space for activities, ministries and administration. This phase also included a long-awaited addition to the school campus for Pre-k as well as state of the art early education classrooms. The capital campaign, “Making a Place to Gather and Grow,” successfully funded the Simmons Parish Center and the DeJoy Early Education Building, playground renovations and the Parr Amphitheater. The parish achieved these goals while simultaneously being a lead parish for the first-ever diocesan capital campaign. Over the years, our parish has received international recognition for our stewardship efforts and capital campaigns. In 2015, the Holy Year of Divine Mercy, our parish was designated as one of the special places of pilgrimage for our diocese.
In 2015, St. Pius X School celebrated its 60th anniversary of faith-based education and the parish school is flourishing today with the highest enrollment for a Catholic elementary school outside the city of Charlotte. In 2023, the Lemnios Pavilion was completed on the campus and plans are currently under way to provide an artificial turf athletic field. Ministries in and of the parish continue to grow, as well as our participation in community efforts which promote our mission of good will among the people of Greensboro.