Parish History Antidotes

St. Clement's Catholic Church

 

1949

One newspaper article dated Sept. 7, 1983 gives some exciting early history notes: “The first area Mass for Catholics was held in 1949 in the log cabin used by the Calhoun Women’s Club in downtown Calhoun. “In 1958, five families attend services in the old WEBS radio station building next to the Calhoun First National Bank. Redemptorist Fathers from the Saint Joseph’s Parish in Dalton gave spiritual guidance to the small group of Catholics. The group included: Mrs. Jim Woodall, Mrs. C.M. Satterfield, Lois Silks, Mrs. R.K. Smith, Bill Titus, Helen Ray, Lewis DiPrima, Erna Wyatt and Mrs. Alex Franklin.” (The Press) Lewis & Dorothy DiPrima and Erna Wyatt are still active members, now in their eighties, and here every Sunday.

1960 According to Lewis DiPrima, in the 1960s, the families of St. Clement’s Mission briefly considered building the first church between Adairsville and Calhoun (south of Tom B. David Field) where Philadelphia Baptist Church stands. The property was next to and part of the Wyatt property owned by Erna Wyatt (one of our founders) and her husband. It was decided that it was too far from the city and off the main roads. The Archdiocese of Atlanta also wanted something on the way to Rome as they thought the growth would occur between Rome and Calhoun. Lewis also had found a piece of property near Gordon Hospital, but our current location was chosen and the diocesan representative never saw the property off Red Bud Road.
1968

Many of our parishioners have come since 1992—when the “new church” was dedicated. The original church is where the parish office and Pastor's offices are. That church was built in 1968-69 and was a red brick church whose western wall came to about the entrance to the “new church.” When you go over the little ramp before going downstairs, that is the dividing line between old and new. The original parish hall is today’s kitchen and café. The parish in 1968 had 15 registered families. The rectory was about a mile away off Maplewood Drive. That served as the parish rectory till 1999-2000 when it was sold. 

1969

One of the treasures that I have on loan is a program from the dedication of the original St. Clement’s Church on Dec. 7, 1969. Father Joseph Loftus, M.S., pastor of St. Francis of Assisi in Cartersville wrote a note of thank you, historical overview, and reflection. “To the Redemptorist Fathers, who came to Saint Joseph’s Parish in Dalton in 1942 and under whose spiritual guidance Saint Clement’s became an established and permanent Mission on The Feast of Christ the King in 1958, and especially men like Fr. Driscoll, C.SS.R., Fr. Krimm, C.SS.R., Fr. Rockwood, C.SS.R., Fr. McDonald, C.SS.R., and Fr. Glasl, C.SS.R., we express our appreciation for their dedication and service to the people of God until 1967. “To Fr. Denis Dullea, Pastor of Saint Clement’s until July of 1969, we owe our greatest debt of gratitude for to him goes the credit of building, planning, and constructing this Church.”

1969

An old newspaper article states that at the dedication of the original St. Clement’s Church in December 1969, “it was said during the service: ‘We are gathered here today to dedicate a new church. But it’s not just a new building we bless and dedicate; it is a living reality, a vital reality; your faith. The physical structure of this church is tangible testimony to your faith. This building will serve as a gathering place for God’s people, and although it will grow old, the faith, love and hope of His people must not age or grow tired. Let us come here to this church to renew our faith, rekindle our love, reaffirm our hope, and then carry these into the communities in which we live.”

1969

The first baptisms celebrated at this site occurred in the original church on Sept. 21, 1969. On that day, Cindy K. Gough and George Nicholson Brunt II were baptized by Father Joseph Loftus, M.S., the first pastor of St. Francis in Cartersville and the new administrator for the Mission of St. Clement’s. Terry Marie Brunt was baptized in October 1970. St. Francis became a parish on July 3, 1969 and during its first six months recorded only six baptisms. St. Clement’s began recording baptisms here in the early 1980s as we began the process that eventually led to our becoming a parish on Sept. 20, 1984. This month (May 2009) we will celebrate almost 40 baptisms.

1979

Our first entry in the parish Combined Register of Sacraments (parish sacrament books) is from October 14, 1979, recording the baptism of Robin Marie Sloan, daughter of Judy DiPrima Sloan and Phillip Sloan. St. Clement’s Mission apparently began recording sacraments here—and not at St. Francis in Cartersville—when Father Stephen Dressell, M.S., became a priest in residence. He was succeeded in early 1982 by Father Michael Flanagan, M.S., who was here when we became a parish on Sept. 20, 1984. The first page includes some other prominent names: Yancey Wilson (baptized, April 1980), Robert E. Lee (RCIA, 1980), and Bill Arp (RCIA, 1980). The first wedding recorded is the convalidation of Yancey and Nancy Wilson on April 1, 1980. Michelle Trigila, daughter of Tom and Tina, is the first First Communion recorded on April 3, 1983 (Easter Sunday).. On May 22, 1983, 11 received their First Communion including Elliott Jones, son of Howard and Helen. The first Confirmations are from June 4, 1980, where 15 candidates celebrated with Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan. The first death recorded is Anthony Kressman, 73, who died on Nov. 25, 1979.

late 70's

In the late 1970s, shortly after Gary and Nancy Beisser moved here from Wisconsin, a bowling league was started that at times involved as many as 10 teams. Father Steve Dressell, M.S., then Administrator (in residence) of St. Clement’s Mission, participated. There was good fun, lots of stories, and competition as well. Ginger Loy remembers her team winning the trophy one year.

1983

”Father Denis Dullea, of Saint Joseph’s Church in Dalton, played a large part in the planning, building and construction of the new church and in 1969, groundbreaking services were held for a new Catholic church in Calhoun. . . Julius Nagy, Gordon Slick, Mrs. John Adams, Lois E. Silks and Lewis Diprima were on the building committee.  “Fifteen families made up the membership. . . Today (Sept. 1983) the membership includes 100 families, representing approximately 400 members with 50 children involved in the Sunday School Program.” (The Press)

1983

A Sept. 7, 1983 article in The Press mentions the presence of two nuns at St. Clement’s: Sister Joan Curley and Sister Lynne Cooper of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Louis Province. Sister Joan served as a pastoral associate to Father Michael Flanagan and Sister Lynne: “serves the youth of the Catholic churches in Canton, Calhoun and Cartersville.” The two sisters were here for a fair number of years and we hope to have them with us for the anniversary celebration in September.

1984

In an old parish picture directory from the 1980s, it is noted that: “In 1984, the Parish, comprising 100 families, and 350 members made application for Status to a full parish with its own pastor. This was granted September 20, 1984 with Fr. Michael Flanagan, M.S. as first Pastor.” It also notes that: “At the 1969 dedication of the building. . . the Mission of St. Clement was comprised of fifteen families that year.” Please participate in our parish picture directory this summer to be part of the 25th anniversary directory.

1984

Parish and archdiocesan records indicate that we moved from being a mission of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Cartersville to being established as a parish on Sept. 20, 1984. At that time it was determined we no longer needed the financial support and partnering of another parish—we were ready to be an adult! St. Clement’s became a mission of St. Francis on July 3, 1969 when St. Francis became a parish and St. Clement’s Mission was transferred from St. Joseph in Dalton. St. Francis parish initially served Bartow, Gordon, Pickens and Cherokee counties. It also nurtured and helped grow Our Lady of La Salette in Canton and Our Lady of the Mountains in Jasper.This year we celebrate 25 years as a self-sustaining parish and 40 years at this location, our first permanent home. We moved into the original church in 1969 as St. Clement’s Mission with 15 families. The groundbreaking for the original church and the original parish hall (now the café) occurred in early April 1969.

1986

We are creating a new scholarship in memory of Sam DeFalco. Sam taught for a number of years at Coosa Valley Tech and recent donations in his honor have inspired us to create the DeFalco Scholarship.  Beginning in May 2010, each year a graduating Senior from high school who is a member of St. Clement’s will receive this scholarship based on criteria and virtues lived by Sam.Sam was a lifelong teacher and learner who taught many by the way he lived. He and his family have been members of St. Clement’s since 1986.

1991

Archbishop James P. Lyke dedicated the current (second) church on Oct. 27, 1991.
               “For parish secretary Ginny Stives, the dedication ceremony ‘went too fast.’ The four former pastors of the parish concelebrated with Archbishop James P. Lyke, OFM, and Father Henault. LaSalette priests Father Flanagan, Father Stephen Dressell, Father Philibert O’Hara and Father Thomas Carroll also took part in the rite of anointing the walls of the new sanctuary in recognition of their past service in the parish.
                “In three years, members of the 143-household parish raised $460,000 and built a 300-seat sanctuary notable for its simple and modest elegance. Only a $160,000 debt remains of the $620,000 cost of the new building.” (The Georgia Bulletin; Nov. 14, 1991)

1991

The new church built in 1991 included donations of time, goods, and services. “Through parishioners’ connections, the deep burgundy carpeting was donated, as was material for a unique ceiling made of wood flooring. The owner of the wood products company admitted he had never heard of using flooring for a ceiling. Part of the donation actually was used for the floor in the parish hall. The cabinets in the sacristy were also donated.Only the Wisconsin-made light fixtures came from a distance, according to Barrett. And when they arrived three days before the October 27 dedication, a parishioner, owner of a local sign company, together with his workers, assembled the lights and put them up.” (The Georgia Bulletin, Nov. 14, 1991)

1991

The altar table memorial was given by Lois Silks in memory of Sister Mary Incarnata, R.S.M. (Genevieve Clare McDonald). The altar table and all the altar furniture, the ambo (lector’s podium), and large baptismal font all were made while Father Jim Henault, M.S. (1991-93) was pastor. Michael Barrett, the church architect, helped with the design of the church furniture.

 

Of the many stories that people began to tell, I wish to share one in particular this week that captures the spirit of the early years of St. Clement’s. It involves pews the parishioners bought when we were still in the original church. At a certain point some members decided to varnish the pews. The varnish made them sticky and during the summer, very sticky.   Years later, they began fundraising to purchase new pews. Bill Arp explained the benefits and noted that the best part was “we’re not going to stick to the pews anymore.”

1991

Parts of the ceiling in the church are actually flooring. When the church was built in 1991-92, there was a desire for a certain effect and it was easier and cheaper to use flooring and to install it top down. Thus when you look up, you are looking up at a floor. When people ask, how many floors do you have at St. Clement’s? We actually have three (technically). Part of the ingenuity, creativity, and faith that makes this place special.

1999

In the December 4, 1999 issue of the Calhoun Times and Gordon County News it mentions that: “St. Clement’s Catholic Church will be celebrating the Christmas season with a new Allen pipe organ that was donated to the church by a parishioner in memory of their son. The new organ and its hand made pipes will be blessed at a ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 12.”

2001

June 4-8, 2001, Vacation Bible School became “A Bibletimes Experience: Marketplace 29 A.D.” Children were to “experience village life during the time of Christ through costumes, music, crafts, story telling, animals, food, and family traditions.” (Calhoun Times and Gordon County News). Fr. Thad Rudd even brought over his llamas! Roman soldiers kept everyone in line!

2001

When Father Thad Rudd (1998-2001) served as pastor, a monthly newsletter was published entitled “St. Clement’s Plea.” Father Rudd’s column was known as “Rudd’s Rumblings.” In the summer of 2001, he wrote a farewell column. “Remember, I was only to be here six months. . . Ninety miles each way for three years; one new car used up, not counting the many tires and hundreds of gallons of gasoline. It was never easy but you all received us so well. You never complained (to me anyway) that sometimes it took three hours for me to respond to a hospital call and the little socials I missed for being ‘there.’ It has been a good three years for me. I have grown some, lost some weight, and have learned a lot.”

2009

Ethel Walgren is our St. Clement’s Woman of the Year for 2009. She will be honored at the Archdiocesan Woman of the Year Mass, sponsored by the Atlanta Council of Catholic Women (ACCW), Feb. 28 at the Cathedral of Christ the King. Ethel is a daily mass sacristan, a Eucharistic Minister, and helps with counting parish collections. She also is an active member of Clementines (our over-55 group). Ethel does needlepoint of angels and is a joyful, humble servant and witness of our Catholic faith. Did I mention that she is 84! Ethel proves that we can keep serving Christ and the Church at any age. Congratulations Ethel.

2009

Mary Douglas has prepared more schoolchildren for First Communion than anyone else in the history of St. Clement’s. Some believe she’s prepared every child! According to Mary, she started teaching second grade in 1989 (a couple years after arriving) and, except for a two-year break in the early 1990s, has prepared second graders for First Confession and First Communion ever since. This would be her 19th year. Mary also has done baptismal preparation classes for many years, instructing many parents (and godparents) how best to raise their children in the Catholic faith. We soon will baptize her newest granddaughter Jenna Proctor.

2009

During Lent, the cross of nails on the table before the baptismal font was purchased from St. Joseph Seminary gift shop during Fr. Shaute's trip to Louisiana. The crown of thorns was collected, woven, and painted by Mike Towe.

2009

Lewis DiPrima (August 2009)
     “I moved to Calhoun in 1959. At that time St. Clement’s mass was being held on the floor above the original WEBS Radio location. You could hear the Protestant preachers preaching on the radio at the same time we were listening to our priest’s sermon.
     During that period there were only six families attending mass. I was new in the Community at that time, but felt good about the prospects of Calhoun’s growth, and the Catholic community. So I asked Father McDonald “do we have a building fund?” Father McDonald  enthusiastically said: “We do now.” He asked me to head up a committee for fund raising and a search committee for a new location.
     This was quite an undertaking for our small church, but everyone got involved in many different ways, and not every event was as successful as we would have liked. The first Valentine dance dinner was not a success due to a snow storm, but fortunately we had sold enough tickets to pay for the band. Father McDonald told me not to worry that we did not make any money, the fact that we were having events such as the Valentine’s dinner showed the presence of a strong active Catholic community. One of our most popular and anticipated events was our Italian spaghetti dinner. 
     During this period searching for property we had to move the church several times. Our next move was to the Calhoun First National Bank community room, then the Methodist Church on Line Street, then finally a brick house on 41 South.
     After searching many locations and much controversy over what would be the best location, we settled on our current location. We felt we had made an excellent purchase for $3,000 an acre, and even had one acre donated to us.
     St. Clement’s has been an important part of my family’s life. I have one son and three daughters, and all my daughters were married in St. Clement’s, with Judy, who married Phil Sloan in 1970 (Sept. 6), being the first marriage held in our new church.”

2009

More than 25 years - September 20, 2009

We are celebrating three anniversaries this year: 50 years from when the original mission was established; 40 years since the mission transferred to St. Francis-Cartersville and the La Salettes; and 25 years as a parish. “In 1958, five families attend services in the old WEBS radio station building next to the Calhoun First National Bank. Redemptorist Fathers from the Saint Joseph’s Parish in Dalton gave spiritual guidance to the small group of Catholics. The group included: Mrs. Jim Woodall, Mrs. C.M. Satterfield, Lois Silks, Mrs. R.K. Smith, Bill Titus, Helen Ray, Lewis DiPrima, Erna Wyatt and Mrs. Alex Franklin.” (The Press) Lewis & Dorothy DiPrima and Erna Wyatt are still active members, now in their eighties, and here every Sunday. Lois is at Gordon Health Care (nursing home) in declining health. She is . . . Mrs. Smith’s daughter Marquita Smith remains an active member of St. Clement’s.
     The groundbreaking for the original church (now the parish offices and upstairs classrooms) and the original parish hall (now the café) occurred in early April 1969. The original St. Clement’s Church, a small red brick structure was dedicated on Dec. 7, 1969 by Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan. Father Joseph Loftus, M.S., pastor of St. Francis of Assisi in Cartersville wrote a note of thank you, historical overview, and reflection in the dedication program.
     “To the Redemptorist Fathers, who came to Saint Joseph’s Parish in Dalton in 1942 and under whose spiritual guidance Saint Clement’s became an established and permanent Mission on The Feast of Christ the King in 1958, and especially men like Fr. Driscoll, C.SS.R., Fr. Krimm, C.SS.R., Fr. Rockwood, C.SS.R., Fr. McDonald, C.SS.R., and Fr. Glasl, C.SS.R., we express our appreciation for their dedication and service to the people of God until 1967.”
     In an old parish picture directory from the 1980s, it is noted that: “In 1984, the Parish, comprising 100 families, and 350 members made application for Status to a full parish with its own pastor. This was granted September 20, 1984 with Fr. Michael Flanagan, M.S. as first Pastor.”
     Archbishop James P. Lyke dedicated the current (second) church on Oct. 27, 1991.
     “In three years, members of the 143-household parish raised $460,000 and built a 300-seat sanctuary notable for its simple and modest elegance. Only a $160,000 debt remains of the $620,000 cost of the new building.” (The Georgia Bulletin; Nov. 14, 1991)
     The Hispanic Community began arriving in the mid-1990s and Sunday masses in Spanish and Guadalupe celebrations began in 1997-98.
     Today we have more than 750 families and are still growing.

2009 Father Leo Cummings, M.S. (1939-2009) was the last of the La Salette Priests at St. Clement’s. As pastor from 1993-1998, he helped this parish community pay for the new church (the current church) dedicated Oct. 27, 1991. It was also during his pastorate that our beautiful church crucifix was acquired and hung above the altar. Father Joe Shaute came to know Father Leo during those years and when he was assigned to the Catholic Church of St. Ann in Marietta, Ga., in 1998 while Father Joe was in the seminary.
2010

Sister Beatriz Taneco, MAG, came to St. Clement’s in the summer of 2006. During her more than 3 ½ years with us, she has  helped expand, add to, and fortify our programs, celebrations, services, and activities. Sister Beatriz has also helped and supported the integration of our religious education programs as they are now interconnected and working as one. Sister brought an exterior calmness to us that was very helpful to me as a new pastor. On the inside is the fire-the fire of Christ’s love and a servant’s heart. Sister Beatriz helped people to grow spiritually, to grow in knowledge of Christ and His church, and to cultivate their gifts to serve and praise. She helped people have a sense of belonging and that they are valued and needed. She also challenged and nurtured. Sister helped start the School of Evangelization with its retreats and training programs. She also started the September Independence Festival and expanded the ongoing formation of liturgical ministers and community leaders. And did it all with a mother’s love.

 

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