In October 1992, Fr. John P. Giuliani, C.O., our pastor, led a feasibility study that examined the establishment of a parish in the Fort Mill, South Carolina area. Several months later in early 1993, 70 families gathered to start a Mission Church known as the Fort Mill/Tega Cay Catholic Community. The first weekend mass was celebrated on Saturday, July 2, 1993. This celebration, held at the Lake Wylie Lutheran Church in Fort Mill, had 79 people in attendance. The congregation grew rapidly, with services soon moved to a bigger venue due to the need for greater seating capacity.
On January 8, 1994, Bishop David B. Thompson of the Diocese of Charleston celebrated Mass and accepted our mission statement. Bishop Thompson named our community after St. Philip Neri, our Patron Saint of joy who founded the Roman Oratory.
In February 1995, the Parish of St. Philip Neri purchased eight acres of land on Munn Road in Fort Mill for a future church. Several months later during Easter, a second mass on Sunday morning was added to accommodate the Parish’s 227 families. St. Philip Neri’s first Annual Italian Festival, which has grown to become the Parish’s largest fundraiser, was held in June 1995 at the National Guard Armory on Munn Road.
A “mortgage burning” ceremony, which celebrated the Parish’s payoff of the debt used to purchase the land, was held in January 1996. Several months later, a Building Fund Drive was launched to solicit funds for a new Parish Center. On September 1, 1997, a groundbreaking was held to celebrate its construction start. Approximately nine months later, during Easter 1998, the first mass at St. Philip Neri was celebrated in the partially-completed Parish Center building. On May 30, 1998, the Parish Center officially opened, with its dedication by Bishop David B. Thompson held several months later.
By October 2001, St. Philip Neri had grown to over 900 families. A “mortgage burning” ceremony, held on January 6, 2002, celebrated the Parish’s payoff of the debt used to build the Parish Center. In April of that year, a new Capital Campaign was initiated to raise funds for the Parish’s ongoing construction plan. At the time, there were over 1,000 registered families.
In June 2003, St. Philip Neri celebrated its 10th Anniversary. Plans were then made to begin construction of the Ministry Building in early 2004. A “snowfall of the century” on February 28, 2004 caused severe roof damage to the Parish Center, with the Parish unable to use the building until repairs were completed eight months later.
On May 20, 2004, Bishop Robert Baker celebrated the groundbreaking of the Ministry Building, with the facility dedicated by the bishop about one year. It was named “The Louis Kuchinic Ministry Building,” an honor bestowed on Lou Kuchinic, a founding parishioner of St. Philip Neri who has been instrumental in the growth and development of the Parish. On June 25, 2005, Fr. John Giuliani, C.O. celebrated the 25th Anniversary of his Ordination to the Priesthood. Bishop Baker dedicated the Parish Center to Fr. John and named it “The Fr. John P. Giuliani Parish Center.”
In November 2005, the St. Philip Neri congregation launched “The Mission Continues,” a four-year capital campaign designed to raise funds for the construction of a new sanctuary. At the time, the Parish had 1,700 registered families.
Under the guidance and direction of Fr. John P. Giuliani, St. Philip Neri and the Rock Hill Oratory, a new Catholic Community and Mission Church was formally established in February 2008. Known as Our Lady of Grace Catholic Community, the Mission Church is located in Indian Land, SC, approximately 15 miles southeast of St. Philip Neri.
On July 3, 2008, St. Philip Neri celebrated its 15-year anniversary in conjunction with a Fourth of July celebration of faith and freedom. At the time, the Parish had nearly 1,800 registered families.
In November 2010, we embarked on our Building in Faith Capital Campaign, which will provide funds for a new sanctuary that will accommodate 1,200 people. Six months later, in May 2011, St. Philip Neri, along with Bishop Robert Guglielmone, celebrated an informal groundbreaking ceremony for the new church. A “real” groundbreaking, including the architect, contractor and golden shovels, was held on February 29, 2012. Completion is targeted for Easter 2013.
Saint Philip Neri Catholic Church - 292 Munn Road East · Fort Mill, SC 29715 · Phone: 803-548-7282 · Fax: 803-547-2999