Holy Cross Catholic Church History 1969 -1997
The history of Holy Cross demonstrates what can be accomplished when Christian optimism is put to work.
In August of 1969, when the idea of a church of their own was first conceived, and North Carolina was a single Diocese, Rev. Wm. Pharr; Pastor of Sl. Benedict the Moor in Winston-Salem, addressed a request to Bishop Vincent Waters, Bishop of Raleigh, to open a mission in Kernersville. It was signed by 61people (41 of whom were children) and was granted by the Bishop.
The first Mass was celebrated on Sunday, Sept. 7, 1969 al 12:00 noon at the antique shop next to Korner's Folly. 1be building was furnished with pews from the original Piney Grove Methodist Church, music was from a $99 console organ from a Winston-Salem pawn shop and articles gleaned from other area Catholic churches.
In August of 71, Rev. Pharr was transferred and Rev. Beatty was named his successor at St. Benedict's and the Mission in Kernersville.
In 1972, the Diocese of Charlotte was established led by Bishop Michael Begley who was ordained that year. On January 12, 1972 the Kernersville Catholic Mission became part of the newly established Diocese of Charlotte.
In September of 73, the Rev. Leon Bolich of the Oblates of St. Francis De Sales became the first full-time Pastor of Kernersville and the mission became officially established as the Church of the Holy Cross. Approximately 250 parishioners were served by the parish at that time.
In July 1974, a 6 ½ acre tract of land on Southern St. was purchased as a site for the future church. In January 1978, Holy Cross parish presented a building plan to the diocese.
On Sunday afternoon, April 30, 1978, the ground-breaking ceremony was held. Construction began in May on the new church building and on October 29, 1978, Holy Cross Church was dedicated.
Rev. Bolich left the summer of 1979 and Rev John Gavin, former pastor of St. ]oseph's in Ashboro, NC moved to Kernersville as his replacement in August. He brought With him a young priest from Philadelphia to be in residence while be taught at Bishop McGuinnes High School in Winston-Salem, Rev .Harry McGovern, OSFS. Ten months after his arrival Rev. Gavin was called home to Pennsylvania and Fr. Harry took over as pastor of Holy Cross.
By the end of 1981, it was clear that Holy Cross was straining for space to accommodate the many educational and congregational activities required by the people. On October 24, 1982, in renewal and with joy, we dedicated the enlarged facility to the honor and glory of God.
Fr. Harry left in 1986 and in the interim. Rev. Gerry Clark was assigned until our present pastor, Rev. Thomas Fitzpatrick, OSFS arrived in 1987.
On July 2, 1988, one of our charter members, Gene Gillis, was ordained as a permanent deacon by Bishop John F. Donoghue, now Archbishop of Atlanta .
In 1994, Rev. Joseph Tustin, OSFS joined us as assistant pastor, but in Sept. of 95 left to join St. Mary's Church in Goldsboro.
In Feb. of 1996 Deacon Gene Gillis left Holy Cross and Kernersville to live by the Ocean in Long Beach, North Carolina.
In July of 1997 Rev. Thomas Fitzpatrick, OSFS left Holy Cross after 10years of service and became pastor of Our Lady of the Highways in Thomasville, North Carolina. Rev. ]oseph Tustin, OSFS returned to Holy Cross as Pastor.
Holy Cross has around 580 families, a Hispanic community of over 350 families who celebrates Mass in Spanish on Sunday, a day care facility with approximately 165 children, an active Christian Faith Formation program, a Knights of Columbus Council, Columbiettes Council, and Squires Council.