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40 years and counting: St. Pius X Catholic Church celebrates landmark anniversary

A Brief History of St. Pius X

On Saturday, September 16, St. Pius X Catholic Church celebrated 40 years as a parish, as well as, the 100th anniversary of the death of their namesake, Saint Pius X.

Monastery of the Holy Spirit founded in 1944.
When the Trappist monks arrived, they constructed several buildings. The first Catholic families in Rockdale County celebrated Mass with the Monks in one of those buildings. In 1958 a permanent chapel was erected for the 80 people attending Mass. As this chapel was being built, Pope Pius X was canonized and thus the name was chosen - Saint Pius X Mission.

A request was made to Archbishop Donnellan to establish a parish in Rockdale County. Saint Pius X officially became a parish on July 8, 1974. Rev. Paul Fogarty, was appointed first Pastor. Father Fogarty's first priority was to find a larger building in which to celebrate Mass and conduct religious education classes. Mr. and Mrs. Waldo Bowen of White's Funeral Home generously allowed Masses to be celebrated in their chapel.

In November of 1974, 7.3 acres of land on Ga. Hwy 20 were purchased as a site for the parish complex.. The groundbreaking for the new church was held on April 25,1976. The first Mass was celebrated on November 21, 1976.

In July of 1987 Rev. John Walsh became Pastor and remained Pastor for nine years. Father Walsh decided to build a new sanctuary, preserve the original church as a chapel and connect all of the buildings of the church complex. As the Catholic population of Rockdale County increased, the needs of the parish grew. After Rev. John Kieran was assigned as Pastor in November 1996, on May 17, 1999 the groundbreaking ceremony was held. On July 13 the first Mass was held in the new sanctuary on Ga. Hwy 20, followed by formal consecration by Archbishop Donaghue on September 11, 1999.

On July, 2013, Rev. John Kieran retired and Rev. Randall Mattox was assigned as Pastor. On May 21, 2014, Rev. Mattox held a Town Hall Meeting, to present "The 2014 St. Pius X Facilities Renewal Project." The plan includes enhancements to the Sanctuary, to the Administrative area, and the front entry.



Seems like yesterday.  You could hear that sentiment over and over at St. Pius X Catholic Church’s anniversary picnic and ministry fair.  Over 300 parishioners joined in the festivities in honor of the church’s 40 year history.  

Pastor Randy Mattox said, “I’m very excited about the turnout.  Everyone seems to be having fun learning about the various ministries.  There’s a lot of signing up happening.”

Over 30 booths represented those ministries.   The founders would be so proud of the church’s growth.  St. Pius’ website,, includes information about the church’s history. 

The parish began as a mission at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit.  The first catholic families in Rockdale County celebrated Mass with the monks.  In 1958, a permanent chapel was erected to serve the needs of the group of 80. Over the next few years, the number of Catholics in the area increased.  

In 1974, the mission had 125 families.  Archbishop Donnellan granted a request to establish a parish in Rockdale County.  Property was purchased and buildings were constructed. During this time, Mr. and Mrs. Waldo Bowen of White’s Funeral Home generously allowed Masses to be celebrated in their chapel.  The Rockdale County Recreation Department arranged room for religious education classes at the Milstead Recreation Center.  The transition lasted until the first Mass was celebrated in the new sanctuary on November 21, 1976.  

Since then, the number has grown to over 1000. As a result, a new sanctuary was added.  Several priests have served the parish over the years.  Many families have made St. Pius X their church home.   

Jackie and Jerry Walden, joined the parish last Spring.  “We wanted to be close to our family.” The couple recently celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary and have plenty of family members to see: 5 children, 10 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.

Joy Cotterell joined six months ago.  She was concerned about getting lost in a church with so many people.  “Not a problem, I love it here, “she said.

“We feel a real connection with our community.  The people are friendly.  We love functions like this,” said Vanla and Patrick Harnett.

“I love this church.  There are good people,” said Jane Bates.  “There’s a good mix of old and young, as well as diversity in culture.  People are here from all over,” said Bill Bates.

“I love the open hearts of our parish,” said Kathy Pusch.

Plans for the church’s future include remodeling the sanctuary and gathering area to create an even warmer, reverent atmosphere.  For more information, visit