In the early 1980s, Apex, NC was a small town with a population of 3,192, and less than three percent of the area was Catholic. When a small cadre started efforts to create a Catholic parish in Apex, it was referred to as the Apex Mission Church. Our parish, St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church, was born from that initiative.
St. Andrew has always been committed to worship, fellowship, and serving those in need. With more than 50 active ministries, our parishioners serve the liturgical needs of our faith community, preserve the faith through educating our youth, and reach out to the homeless and needy.
In September 2008, St. Andrew celebrated its 25th anniversary with a gala, family festival, and an anniversary mass.
Reflections on 25 years
For the 25th anniversary, we asked parishioners and religious who had been part of the creation of the parish to reflect on some parish milestones.
- Search for Land
- Building Our Church
- Faith Development
- First Mass & Baptism by John Calcagni
- Community Outreach
- Father Bill’s Garden
- Music Ministry
- Early Childhood Center by Eileen Vaughn
- Stations of the Cross by Fr. Joe Cavoto
- St. Andrew Statue by David Legarth
- St. Andrew Columbarium by Pete Burke
- Friars of the Atonement
Reverend Thomas Price, one of the founders of the Maryknoll Mission Society, began his ministry in North Carolina around 1902. It was the challenge of the Tar Heel State that fostered his dream of a missionary society at a time when the United States was still considered a missionary enterprise of the European Church.
Father Price has been called the Tar Heel Apostle in that he labored for the Church and its then meager presence, especially in the South. In the early 1920’s, Apex was only a short stop on a railroad system. There was a small Catholic presence in the form of a chapel on Hunter Street, near the center of town. Later, the wooden structure would be lost in an accidental fire.
By the mid 1960’s, Raleigh’s population was beginning to explode. The RTP continues to bring expansion, and a migration of Catholic people. Soon, a mission was established in Cary. It would later grow to be the mother parish, St. Michael the Archangel.
In 1979, the Diocese had purchased 15 acres of land on Olive Chapel Road as an investment. Should Raleigh’s new growth spread toward Apex, this could be a possible site for a future parish.
DECEMBER 1979. Several parishioners living in Apex met with Father Tait. Among them were Tony & Donna Mackorowski, Skip & Donna Lineau, Margaret Atkins, Imogene & Joe Salotti, Joan Weber, Carmel & John Barron, Janet Hobbs, Jean & Pete Lux and Frank Zadell. They began preparations for a mission church in Apex.
OCTOBER 1980. Mass is celebrated in the basement of Spain’s Restaurant in Apex. The attendance was so large that they moved to the C.C. Jones Community Center on Holleman Street. Priests from St. Michael’s continued to serve the Apex community. In time, it became known as St. Michael’s Apex Mission. The Community Center continued to be host for CCD and high school classes.
NOVEMBER 1980. A group of 15 began to make plans for a permanent residence in Apex. They earnestly pursued a series of fundraisers. At that time, approximately 80 people were attending the one weekly Mass.
JULY 1982. Reverend H. Charles Mulholland was appointed pastor of St. Michael’s. He suggested that the Apex Mission people present their needs to Fr. Frank Moeslin, then Chancellor of the Raleigh Diocese.
SEPTEMBER 1982. The Apex Mission begins to take a new turn. The Diocese would consider a permanent Catholic presence while the Apex Mission would have to provide it could continue to grow.
NOVEMBER 1982. Jean Lux and Fran Dominquez began an active recruitment for the Apex Mission. Jim Boyle and John Calcagni joined forces with the growing Apex project.
JUNE 1983. Services outgrew the community center and moved to Apex High School. They worked long and hard to expand a wide variety of programs and services. Reverend Henry Lovelace, Pastor of Apex United Methodist Church, graciously offered the uses of their buildings for classes and meetings.
Bishop Joseph Gossman established an Office for Black Ministry and Evangelization. Fr. Martin Carter, SA, was appointed Director. The establishment of this office had a direct influence on the Apex Mission. Things were happening quickly, committees were forming and a name had been chosen. Apex Mission would now be known as St. Andrew the Apostle.
It became evident to Bishop Gossman that he would need a priest for the Mission. He wrote to the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, Graymoor, Garrison, New York. Bishop Gossman has often recounted that it was the first time he had ever requested one priest and received two!
The Franciscan Friars of the Atonement who’s motto “That All May Be One So That The World Might Believe”, wanted to establish a local community. The Apex Mission seemed an opportunity to expand their ministry of concern and activity for Christian Unity and support for the Diocese’s expanding activities.
SEPTEMBER 1, 1983. St. Andrew’s established a Pastor with the arrival of Father William F. Schmidt and Associate Pastor, Father Joseph F. Cavoto, SA.
These were the first priests ever to be assigned to Apex. Their arrival marked the official establishment of St. Andrew The Apostle, a parish within the Diocese of Raleigh.