HISTORY OF ST. PIUS X ROMAN CATHOLIC PARISH
In 1954, Monsignor Hugh A. Dolan, 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. A school with eight grades and a kindergarten, a school hall, a cafeteria, a chapel intended for students, and a convent and rectory were all built on the new grounds.
The new school opened in March 1955 with 176 students and six teachers. It was named St. Pius X in honor of the 258th Pope who was canonized the same year. Pope Pius X, the first pope to be canonized since Pope Pius V in the Sixteenth Century, was renowned for his pastoral values, devotion to the poor, and commitment to Christian education. Monsignor Dolan became the first pastor of St. Pius X Church, and the school was staffed by the Daughters of Charity of Emmitsburg, Maryland.
From 1955 to 1960, St. Pius operated as a mission of St. Benedict’s Church. Beginning in the fall of 1956, one Mass was celebrated on Sundays in the chapel of the school. On July 15, 1960 its status as a mission officially ended, and St. Pius X separated from St. Benedict’s and became an independent Parish of the Raleigh Diocese, with 330 member families. The first Parish Bulletin was published two days later. The original Parish Plan called for the building of a new church once the Parish became established. The St. Pius X chapel, located in the basement of the school, and originally designed only to meet the needs of the students, became the sole place of worship for the Parish for two decades. It seated a maximum of 225 worshipers. Planning for a new church began almost immediately after the formation of the Parish, and continued informally throughout the 1960s and early 1970s.
In its early years, the Parish struggled financially, but continued to attract new members. In April 1970, the Parish, at the direction of the Raleigh Diocese, established a “Board of Consultors” to “provide advice and consultation to the Pastor on all phases of the operation of the Parish.” The Parish Pastoral Council grew into a dynamic decision-sharing body with responsibility for the standing Commissions that addressed every major aspect of Parish life: family, spiritual life, community, finance, communication, and education.
In 1977, the Parish authorized a study on the feasibility of building a new church. On December 6, 1978, the Parish presented a formal request to the Charlotte Diocese for permission to build a new church. The architect, Charles L. McMurray of Charlotte, was recommended based on his involvement in the renovation of Belmont Abbey. After a year of planning and fund raising, construction of the new church began on March 2, 1980, and the new church was dedicated on March 29, 1981. Its triangular, functional and communal design was intended to emphasize the liturgical requirements of the Second Vatican Council, and was designed to accommodate approximately 350-375 worshipers; the Parish included 344 families at the time.
Monsignor Dolan led the Parish until 1975, when he was transferred to Charlotte. He was an active community leader, writing regularly for the Greensboro News & Record, communicating the church message on local radio and television, and working to better the lives of the poor and deprived. Monsignor Dolan also was an early proponent of racial understanding and ecumenical values. Monsignor Lawrence Newman, a strong advocate of Catholic education, succeeded Monsignor Dolan. He was succeeded in 1977 by Monsignor William N. Pharr, who led efforts to build a new church. Father George M. Kloster assumed leadership of the Parish in July 1979, remaining pastor until June 1988. The successful parish renewal program, Jubilee, and the Peru mission began during his pastorate. These vibrant ministries continue today.
In 1980, Father Kloster envisioned a parish-sponsored apartment building that would serve as a means of outreach to the elderly in Greensboro in need of moderately-priced housing. In 1981, the St. Pius X Parish Council formed St. Pius X Housing, Inc. to apply for federal funds for the housing project. The Parish and Diocese approved a gift of three acres of land fronting on Golden Gate Drive for the project. That same year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) approved an application for a 30-unit project with HUD-subsidized rents. In 1983, plans for the housing were finalized and a grant of $1,115,000 was awarded. The new housing development, Dolan Manor, was formally dedicated on November 5, 1984.
Father Kloster was followed by Father Frank Cintula. Father Cintula’s pastorate ended in June 1990. In July 1990 to 1994, the Franciscans assumed leadership of the Parish, beginning with Father Bob Hudak, followed by Father Hugh Hines and later by Father Bob Menard. Father Francis Connolly was pastor from 1994 until July 2000. During his leadership, the new parish center, a parking lot, and a new middle school wing was added to the school. Construction on a new athletic center also began during his pastorate.
Monsignor Anthony Marcaccio has been pastor since July 2000 and has led the parish during a time of unprecedented growth and activity in the Parish. 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. A rectory was purchased on North Elm Street. In 2002 the Korean Catholic Community of the Triad began worshiping at the church and grew to the point of having its own pastoral minister. St. Pius X School celebrated its 50th anniversary of faith-based education in 2005 and in the same year the school board received national recognition. The Columbarium and bell tower were built in 2006.
The Capital Campaign, Making a Place at the Table, began in April 2007 with plans to build a new church with 1100 seats, build a new Parish office and Cloister, to accommodate a growing and vibrant Catholic Community of Faith. Both the Capital Campaign and the stewardship efforts of the parish have received international recognition. Lewandowski Architecture of Winston-Salem was retained to design the new church, and construction began in late December 2008. The new church was then dedicated by Bishop Peter Jugis on April 17, 2010.