History of Our Lady Of The Assumption Church


 

1948-1958

On August 15, 1948, 0ur Lady of the Assumption Parish, then known as the Assumption Missionary Cenacle was officially founded (on the feast of the Assumption) as the third Catholic parish in Charlotte, under the pastoral leadership of Fr. Michael Giblin, M.S.SS.T. A large house at 521 Central Avenue (on location of the current Roseland Florist shop) was purchased as the church and the first Mass at Assumption Parish was celebrated on Sunday, October 3, 1948, in the church with an attendance of 40 persons.

A Men's Club and an Altar Society were started in the fall of 1948.

The first Kindergarten class was formed in 1949 with 15 students under the care of the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity.

 

The parish grew steadily, and in September of 1950 the diocese acquired the property of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church. The first Mass was celebrated on March 11, 1951. Bishop Vincent Waters conferred the sacrament of Confirmation that same afternoon.

In 1952, the convent was purchased on Independence Boulevard, adjoining the church property.

The priests resided in a small white five-room bungalow at the corner of Shenandoah Avenue and the Plaza until the summer of 1953 when it was torn down to make room for the new church-school. A new rectory was purchased at 2117 Shenandoah Avenue.

In 1953 a building fund program for the new church/school building was started. On Thursday, June 3, 1954, Bishop Vincent Waters dedicated the new church/school building.

In the summer of 1955, Father Michael and his assistant were transferred and Father Bernard McDonald succeeded them.


1958-1968

In August of 1958 the Trinitarian Fathers left Our Lady of the Assumption and Father Lawrence Hill, a Diocesan Priest was assigned to Our Lady of the Assumption as the first diocesan pastor.

The Sisters of Mercy of Belmont were sent to staff the school in August of 1959.

The 11-acre piece of property, which is our present location, on Shamrock Drive was purchased in 1961.

Father Lawrence Tait was appointed pastor in 1962.

As a result of rapid growth, the kindergarten was moved from the school building to the green building on The Plaza in September 1963 to make room for a school library.

Father Joseph Kerin replaced Father Tait as pastor in the summer of 1966. Under the leadership of Fr. Kerin the mortgages for the Shenandoah property and facilities and the Shamrock property were consolidated into one ten-year mortgage.


1968-1978

In 1968 the church was remodeled to bring it up to Vatican II guidelines. Side sacristy doors were added; the altar rail was removed; and the altar was moved forward. A folk Mass for the youth, celebrated in the Kindergarten Building, was started in 1970.

The first Charismatic Prayer Group met in 1970.

The parish had a farewell dinner for Father Kerin prior to his assignment to Mexico City. Over 300 people attended the celebration at Nixon's Steak House.

In the summer of 1972 Father Ron McLaughlin replaced Father Kerin as pastor.

A series of Town Meetings to discuss the growth and future of the parish were held under the leadership of Father McLaughlin.

The first building campaign, "Ventures in Faith," took place in 1976.

Msgr. Lawrence Newman replaced Father McLaughlin as pastor in 1977. After a short stay at Our Lady of the Assumption, Msgr. Newman left to form the parish of St. John Neuman.

Father Joseph Kelleher was transferred from the "Big Apple" (Albemarle) to pastor Our Lady of the Assumption Church in August of 1977.

In 1977, the vestibule was renovated to add a "Cry Room" for parents with restless children.

Later in 1977, the parish purchased the duplex next to the convent on Independence Boulevard. The duplex served as a residence for a number of Seminarians and assistant pastors as well as the Parish Office.

In the spring of 1978 the ten-year mortgage was burned in a celebration with Father Kerin, who consolidated the mortgages, and Father Kelleher, who paid off the debt.

On October 8, 1978, Father Kelleher celebrated 12:00 Noon Mass on the grounds of the Shamrock property. The grounds were dedicated and a sign unveiled showing the future site of Our Lady of the Assumption.


1978-1988

On September 9, 1979, the Assumption Leisure Club was formed to meet the spiritual and social needs of the senior citizens and "young at heart."

On November 30, 1979, a group of OLA parishioners combined their talents with those of several other churches to produce the first "Show Biz" to benefit Crisis Assistance, Metrolina Food Bank and Friendship Trays.

Parish Fish Groups first gathered in April of 1980 with an initial meeting of 18-20 participants in the school cafeteria.

January 13, 1982, the, parish had an initial meeting to form a Young Adult group.

A major renovation of the church took place in June of 1982. The altar was moved forward and raised, and the organ and choir sections were relocated to the 'pit" at the rear of the altar. The old confessionals were removed and a new reconciliation room was added adjacent to the sanctuary.

On the heels of the renovation project, a second capital campaign, 'Ventures in Faith, II" was started in 1982 to raise funds for a new church.

On July 2, 1986, Father Kelleher ended his pastoral tenure at Our Lady of the Assumption, leaving after 9 years.

Father John Hanic was assigned to Assumption as Father Kelleher's successor in July of 1986. By August Father Hanic had started the first RCIA program for the parish.

The convent was remodeled to add meeting space for parish events in 1987. In 1988 it was completely renovated to add another kindergarten classroom.


1988-1998

The first architectural model for the new church was presented to and approved by Bishop Donohue in 1988. A third and final capital campaign was initiated that same year.

 

On March 19, 1989, Bishop Donohue officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new church, and we were officially "on the road to Shamrock!"

The last Mass on Shenandoah Avenue was celebrated at 6:OOPM on Saturday, February 3, 1990, with retired Bishop Michael Begley as principal celebrant.

On Sunday, February 4, 1990, at 11:00 AM, Bishop John Donohue celebrated the Mass of Dedication. Our pastor, Father John D. Hanic, concelebrated.

In the spring of 1991 a statue of Mary was placed in the niche in the back of the church. A corpus was soon added to the brick cross above the tabernacle.

In July of 1992, Msgr. Thomas Burke replaced Father Hanic as pastor. Under the leadership of Msgr. Burke the OLA Chapter of the Knights of Columbus Council 11102 was formed in April of 1992.

In July of 1994, Father Francis Gillespie, S.J. became our first Jesuit pastor.

On Pentecost Sunday of 1996 the Holy Spirit icon, a dove sculpture was suspended over the Baptismal Font and was blessed by Father Gillespie.

In the summer of 1996, under the auspices of the Community Life Commission, the Connections Ministry to the Elderly, Ministry to the Hungry, and Ministry to the Immigrants were formed.

A statue of Our Lady of the Assumption was placed in the alcove in the rear of the church, and stained glass windows were added in 1997.

The parish continued to grow spiritually with the introduction of the "Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius" in 1995-96, followed by Ignatian prayer groups in 1997.

On June 25, 2001 the mortgage on the church was paid off and the parish celebrated with a mortgage burning ceremony at the church.