St. Mary Catholic Church in Goldsboro celebrated the 25th anniversary of the dedication of its church building, Sunday, January 30. The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge was Celebrant and Homilist. Father Thomas Norris, O.S.F.S, Pastor of St. Mary and Fr. Kevin Corcoran, O.S.F.S., concelebrated.
The parish community has a long history, dating back to the early 1800s. James Cardinal Gibbons, then Vicar Apostolic of North Carolina, visited on horseback. Visiting priests would celebrate Mass in the homes of Catholics living in the area. The first chapel was built in the mid 1850s. Some 30 years later, Father Thomas Price became the first parochial priest in Goldsboro and began raising money for the construction of a church that was dedicated in 1889. At the time, it served five local Catholic families. St. Mary School was started in 1927. Today, the parish serves approximately 700 families and the school remains a vibrant entity in the community.
Since 1990, the parish has been staffed and administered by the Oblates of Saint Francis. In his homily, Bishop Burbidge extended his gratitude “to Father Norris and his Oblate community for their generous service and for all the former pastors, religious and lay faithful, who have served here throughout your rich history.”
Noting St. Mary’s long tradition, Bishop Burbidge said, “We rejoice in remembering the countless number of people who have encountered and experienced the love of God in your parish. Here, God’s Word has been authentically proclaimed and the Holy Spirit has touched the hearts of the faithful.”
The Bishop also spoke of the role of St. Mary School in the life of the parish, paying tribute to staff and faculty as well as parents and the parish community for their sacrifices in their commitment to the school and to the strong faith formation program for youth and adults.
Reflecting on the Gospel reading of the Beatitudes, Bishop Burbidge noted how the celebration of a parish anniversary affords the opportunity “to renew our promises to the Lord and His Church.” The Bishop said the Ten Commandments must be followed, but added that for followers of the Lord, they are not enough. “The Beatitudes call us to a higher living: to be meek, merciful, peaceful, and clean of heart and to seek and follow the Lord and His ways. It will not always be easy. We will suffer. But listen to the promise Jesus offers to all who are faithful to Him: ‘Rejoice and be glad, your reward will be great in heaven.’”
Parishioners (above) of St. Mary, Goldsboro, filled their church for the Mass (below) celebrating 25 years since its dedication.