2011 marks the 25th anniversary of the arrival of the Jesuits at St. Peter Church in Charlotte.
The parish celebrated with a series of events which concluded with a Jesuit-concelebrated Mass on June 26. St. Peter Church was built in 1851 in what was then the southern tip of Charlotte. It was later rebuilt after an explosion at a nearby factory damaged the building’s walls and foundation. As the city grew and more Catholic churches were built, the parish’s population diminished. In 1970, St. Peter Church ceased being a parish.
Then, in 1986, the church regained parish status and the pastorate was assumed by Jesuit priests of the Maryland Province. As the population in the urban area of Charlotte has swelled, the uptown parish has continued to grow as a community deeply concerned with outreach to those in need.
The pastor of St. Peter Church, Father Patrick Earl, was the principal celebrant at the anniversary Mass, celebrated on the Feast of Corpus Christi. Father Earl pointed out the appropriateness of the anniversary celebration being held together with the celebration of the Body and Blood of Christ:
“We celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of our Lord, our nourishment in our lives as disciples of Jesus. And we remember the arrival of the Jesuits here at St. Peter’s in 1986. We remember those who have accompanied us on our journey as disciples of Jesus.”
The Jesuit concelebrants at the Mass were Jesuit Father Joseph Sobierajski, long-time pastor of St. Peter; Jesuit Father Thomas Gaunt, one of the first Jesuits to come to St. Peter; Jesuit Father Vincent Alagia and Jesuit Father Timothy Stephens.