The History of St. Benedict Catholic Church
1987: The parish was established by the Archdiocese of Atlanta in June 1987 under the leadership of its founding pastor, Reverend Joseph L. Peacock. The Archdiocese purchased 13.5 acres of hilltop property on Parsons Road in North Fulton County, and thereafter sent Father Peacock to establish a parish community from the burgeoning neighborhoods in the area. A group of 10 founding families began Sunday Mass at Epiphany Byzantine Catholic Church in Roswell. It was not long before a school of religious education was established and began to meet at Northminster Presbyterian Church, Roswell. Expansive growth soon occasioned the need for a Saturday Vigil Mass which began to be held at Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church, Duluth. The parish was never static and continued to experience exponential growth.
1990: The first building of the parish facilities, located at the Parsons Road site, now the Parish Life Center and Administrative Wing, was dedicated to the Glory of God by the Most Reverend James P. Lyke, OFM, PhD., the fourth Archbishop of Atlanta on August 14, 1990. The spacious new building offered a seating capacity for more than 500 individuals, parish offices, a nursery, a 2,000 square foot gathering space and ten classrooms for the School of Religion.
1992: Father Peacock retired from the pastorate in September 1992. He was succeeded as pastor by Reverend Terry Young, who was assisted by Rev. Ronald J. Fuchs, Rev. Gregory D. Goolsby and Rev. Stewart Wilbur. Full-time ministers of Music, Elementary Religious Education, Youth Ministry and Adult Education & Formation had been added to the parish staff between 1992 and 1994 to assist the almost 9,000 members of the parish family.
1994-1995: Father Terry Young became a Monsignor in December of 1994. Father Stewart Wilbur was assigned to the parish in order to open a mission in northwest Gwinnett County. This was meant to serve the growing needs of this area, and provide a more convenient alternative to an already over crowded St. Benedict. At Monsignor Young’s request it was named in honor of Saint Monica. In March 1995, the parish began an extensive capital funds campaign to finance construction of a permanent church that would seat at least 1,200 people. This was followed by the acquisition of 6.9 acres to the north of the church property later that year. Almost immediately part of this land was used to construct 150 more parking spaces. A house on the land was renovated for more office space and the Adult Formation Program. The financial drive for the new church began in 1995 and construction began in 1996.
1996-1997: In 1996 adjoining land was purchased in order to provide a buffer to meet changed county requirements. A house on this land was renovated into a rectory. In June of 1996, Reverend Daniel J. Fleming was assigned to the parish as a parochial vicar, Father Wilbur was transferred, and Father Goolsby moved over to the Mission. Under the leadership of Monsignor Young, St. Benedict grew to 3,700 families by the fall of 1997. The School of Religion included more than 2,000 children in pre-school through senior high school. The new church was completed as well as space in the undercroft for twelve new classrooms.
1998: The second building of the parish facilities was the main Church, dedicated to the Glory of God by the Most Reverend John F. Donoghue, D.D., the fifth Archbishop of Atlanta on February 1, 1998. In the summer of 1998 work began on the “old school of religion/pre-school” area to provide more office space for the staff as well as the more than 500 volunteers who work with various ministries and religious education facilities. The temporary worship space became a Parish Life Center, named in honor of our founding pastor, Father Joseph L. Peacock.
1998-2003: Rev. Hugh Marren became the third pastor of St. Benedict. During his pastorship a $7.2 million project was proposed to encompass a gymnasium, preschool, classrooms and offices. Rev. Marren adopted a policy of not borrowing any finances from the Archdiocese to cover such a huge project. $1.6 million was pledged and $1.2 million of this amount was collected. Sadly, it became apparent that this project could not be realized for financial reasons. In the meantime, Rev. Marren did what he knows best… he managed to pay off the existing mortgage on the main church. The burning of the debt was a tremendous celebration for the people of St. Benedict who demonstrated their loyalty and fidelity to their faith. The first Hispanic Mass at St. Benedict took place in June of 1998 and the first group of Hispanic First Holy Communions were celebrated on May 4, 2002. Our Hispanic ministry flourished under the guidance of Fr. Guillermo, Fr. Abel, Fr. Fernando and Fr. Carlos-Mario. Fr. Marren was assisted by Rev. Simon Assamoah, Rev. Michael Kingery, Rev. Randy Maddox, Rev. Dan Rogaczewski, Rev. Jamie Barona, Rev. Guillermo Cordoba and Rev. Maduakor Casimir. Fr. Hugh M. Marren became a Monsignor on May 10, 2001.
2004: Fr. Paul Flood became the fourth pastor of St. Benedict. Knowing that the above project could not be financially realized, Fr. Paul and a team of parishioners studied the needs of the parish and decided to use the $1.2 million (already in the bank) as seed monies for future developments.
2007: The third building of the parish facilities, which comprised of twelve additional classrooms and an Adoration Chapel, was dedicated to the Glory of God by the Most Reverend John F. Donoghue, D.D., Archbishop Emeritus on October 7, 2007. Archbishop Donoghue believed that the many and varied Adoration Chapels erected throughout the Archdiocese of Atlanta was the reason for our very successful Vocation program… he was right! Fr. Flood has been assisted throughout his tenure by Rev. Jaime Barona, Rev. Guillermo Cordoba, Rev. Maduakor Casimir, Rev. Stephen Lyness, Rev. Abel Guerero, Rev. Joseph Mullakkara, Rev. Fernando Ruge, Rev. Carlos-Mario Bustamante, Rev. Carlos Quintero, Rev. Randy Maddox and most recently Rev. Charles Okeke.
2010: Very soon after the above project, Fr. Paul Flood and parishioners embarked upon the fourth building of the parish facilities during a severe economic downturn. Putting their trust in the Lord Jesus, the people of St. Benedict jumped up to the plate and demonstrated their faith once more. The best part of three acres was discovered behind the ‘Blue’ House. There was a real need to have an outdoor area where parishioners, youth and preschoolers could gather for picnics and other events. The site was explored and developed to become what is now known as “Taylor Lodge” in honor of Jimmy and Alice Taylor… long time parishioners of St. Benedict.
This part of our plan consists of a large function room, kitchen, surrounded by a porch and outdoor stage area. The basement of this building consists of two meeting rooms for our dedicated and very active Knights of Columbus and Women’s Guild. The pavilion with picnic tables provides tremendous shade from the hot summers of Georgia! Taylor Lodge has given us the opportunity to gather as family for many and varied parish functions which could never have been possible… Parish Picnics, Taste of St. Benedict’s, Banks and Shane Concerts, Movie Nights, to name a few. These facilities are also available for rent. Our new Outdoor Stations of the Cross overlook our beautiful complex and remind us that we have a lot to be thankful for. The fourth building of the parish facilities, named Taylor Lodge, was dedicated to the Glory of God by the Most Reverend Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta on a very rainy September 26, 2010.
Thanks to the generosity of our parishioners the above two projects, namely the Classrooms & Adoration Chapel and Taylor Lodge, were erected and became financially debt free over a period of six years.
2012: June 11, 2012 marks the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the parish. However, it was decided to celebrate this important milestone in the month of September when the weather would be cooler, children would be back at school, and more importantly, it allowed us the much needed time to give our church a makeover and attend to various maintenance issues. For this reason, the main church was closed for construction and masses were held in the Parish Life Center and Taylor Lodge.
Some years ago we dedicated a statue of St. Benedict in the front of our church. Due to construction at that time, we had to remove several bricks that were dedicated to honor or remember a loved one. Thankfully with the erection of our Respect Life Garden, we were able to relocate these bricks in a very suitable and sacred space. This garden is open daily and encourages parishioners, family and friends to sit and meditate on the Gift of Life.
While the good Lord has blessed us with these marvelous facilities, it is the faith, dedication and fidelity of our founding parishioners and those who have followed, who have left a Legacy of Faith for future generations to enjoy. We are the recipients of the sacrifices of those who have gone before us. For this, we are humbly grateful and we pray that the good Lord will see us celebrate our 50th Golden Jubilee. The fifth building of the parish facilities, the 25th Anniversary Renovation of the Church, was dedicated to the Glory of God, by the Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta on September 15, 2012.
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