About St. Mary Parish
A Brief History of St. Mary, Mother of the Church Although   North   Carolina   became   an   Apostolic   Vicariate,   or   mission,   in   1868,   it would   be   almost   100   years   before   the   people   of   Garner   had   a   church   of   their own.   When   Pope   Pius   X   created   the   Diocese   of   Raleigh   in   1924,   it   covered almost   the   entire   state   of   North   Carolina.   Only   31   priests   and   84   religious women   served   the   54,000-square   mile   area   where   6,193   Catholics   resided. The new   Diocese   contained   21   parishes,   40   missions   with   churches,   and   60   stations or   locations   where   priests   celebrated   Mass   as   often   as   they   could,   oftentimes   in private   homes.      St.   Mary,   Mother   of   the   Church   shared   this   humble   beginning   as well. The   first   Mass   for   parishioners   in   Garner   was   celebrated   in   a   rented   former beauty    shop    on    Garner    Road    in   April,    1964.    Recognizing    the    need    for    a permanent   church,   the   Diocese   of   Raleigh   purchased   12   acres   on   Vandora Road   for   $30,000   in   July   1964.   On   August   29,   1965,   the   church   building   was dedicated   by   Bishop   Charles   B.   McLaughlin,   Auxiliary   Bishop   of   Raleigh.   Our church   was   the   first   church   in   the   United   States   given   permission   to   have   the title,    “Mary,    Mother    of    the    Church.”   A    flock    without    a    shepherd,    St.    Mary’s remained   a   mission   without   a   pastor   until   the   parish   was   established   in   1967 and   Father   Charles   Mulholland   served   as   first   pastor.   Prior   to   the   establishment of   the   parish,   St.   Mary’s   was   attended   by   Father   Ralph   Lawson,   Monsignor James McSweeney, Father Ralph Monk and Father Ronald McLaughlin.  The   first   resident   priest,   Father   Gerald   Lewis   (now   Monsignor)   moved   from   the rectory   of   Sacred   Heart   Cathedral   to   the   apartment   built   for   him   within   St. Mary’s   in   1970.   Monsignor   Lewis   recalls   his   apartment   within   the   church,   “We divided   the   choir   area   and   original   Sacristy   into   two   rooms   –   the   back   one   was the   bedroom   and   the   front   one   became   the   parish   office.   The   original   Sacristy became   the   sitting   room.   The   lavatory   was   converted   into   a   full   bathroom   with shower.   Thus,   we   had   a   complete   apartment   without   a   kitchen.   On   the   other side   of   the Altar   was   the   cry   room.   We   moved   the   wall   out,   even   with   the   church wall   and   made   this   the   parish   hall   with   kitchen   appliances.   I   made   many   visits   to the    Blessed    Sacrament,    going    from    the    living    space    to    the    kitchen.    I    was certainly careful to genuflect at each crossing.”  In   1970,   when   the   Catholic   population   of   North   Carolina   grew   to   67,000,   Bishop Vincent   S.   Waters   split   the   Diocese   in   half,   creating   the   Diocese   of   Charlotte.   In a   pastoral   letter   announcing   the   new   Diocese   in   1971,   Bishop   Waters   wrote, “When   the   family   of   God   grows   and   matures   in   any   place,   in   the   plan   of   God   a new family is set up. Rejoice with me at this Good News.” The   Sisters   of   Notre   Dame   served   the   parish   in   1972.   In   late   the   1970s,   the Sisters   of   the   Good   Shepherd   began   serving   the   faith   formation   needs   of   the parish.   In   1990,   St.   Joseph   Hall   was   built   and   in   1992   the   chapel   as   added   to the   church   wing.   In   1996,   we   added   the   outdoor   Marian   shrine.   In   1999,   we added   meeting   and   classroom   space   to   St.   Joseph   Hall.   On   May   31,   2003,   we celebrated our first Misa en español. In   1994   the   Knights   of   Columbus   (The   Fr.   James   Keenan   Council   11266)   was issued   its   charter   by   the   Supreme   Council   and   continues   to   serve   the   Church and   the   Garner   area   faithfully.   In   2014,   a   Circle   of   the   Columbian   Squires   was chartered and in 2015, a Columbiette Auxiliary was granted.  St.   Mary,   Mother   of   the   Church   now   has   over   1,200   families   and   continues   to grow   yearly.   Her   faithful   community   of   lay   ministers,   catechists   and   army   of volunteers serve tirelessly and are physical signs of God’s enduring love. Pastors, Administrators, Priests and Deacons 1967 – 1968 Fr. Charles Mulholland 1968 – 1970 Fr. Gerald Lewis 1970 – 1970 Fr. Michael Shugrue 1970 – 1973 Fr. James Keenan 1973 – 1975 Fr. Robert Lawson 1975 – 1977 Fr. Raymond Donohue 1977 – 1978 Fr. Joseph Drane 1978 – 1984 Fr. James Waters 1984 – 1985 Fr. Jeffrey Ingham 1985 – 1987 Fr. Kenneth Parker 1987 – 1989 Fr. Albert Todd 1989 – 1996 Fr. Charles Mulholland 1992 – 2014 Deacon Leopold Tapler 1995 – 1996 Fr. J. William Long 1996 – 2000 Fr. Francis Maloney 2002 – 2012 Fr. Robert Schriber 2001 – 2005 Fr. Joseph Yaeger 2006 – 2007 Fr. Joseph Ntuwa 2007 – 2012 Fr. Roger Malonda 2010 – Present Deacon Ronald Soriano 2012 – Present Fr. David Chiantella 2012 – 2016 Fr. Chesco Garcia 2016 – 2017 Fr. Jaime Perez Restrepo 2017 – Present Fr. Amaro Vasquez August 2017
St. Mary Mother of the Church Catholic Parish