The History of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church
The Paulding Neighbor Newspaper of August 6, 1981 read that Monsignor Jerry Hardy, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, would like to know the number of Catholic families in the Dallas/Hiram area that were interested in having Mass celebrated in Paulding County. Ten families were required to have Mass.
The first Mass was held at Martin's Funeral Home (known now as Jeff Eberhart Funeral Home) at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday November 7, 1981. Fr. Vincent Mulvin from St. Bernadette's Church in Cedartown presided. About 30 people attended and the following week that number doubled. On March 20, 1983 at the age of 39, Fr. Mulvin died suddenly of a heart attack. In that same year, the Mission adopted the name of St. Vincent de Paul to honor Fr. Mulvin.
Fr. Patrick Bishop became the next priest assigned to care for the Mission. Due to Fr. Bishop's extreme illness, the care of the Mission was transferred to St. Catherine of Siena Church in Kennesaw. Fr. Luzerne Schunupp cared for the community until 1987 when the Conventual Franciscan Friars arrived.
Fr. Eugene Kwapisz, OFM Conv. was the first of the friars to be assigned but died suddenly on January 27, 1988 only seven months into his assignment at St. Vincent de Paul. Fr. David Stachurski, OFM Conv. then assumed pastoral responsibilities for the Mission assisted by Fr. Albert Scherer. It is during this time that our community went through a "desert wandering" period. We sought facilities where we could worship on Sundays in the hopes that more people would join. We worshipped at St. Stephen's Orthodox Church in Hiram for two and a half years and membership did increase during that time. From April 5, 1992 until September 5, 1993, we met in an old gymnasium in Dallas.
A parishioner discovered that the Assembly of God Church in Dallas was interested in selling their facility. We initiated the process to purchase the building and at long last, on September 12, 1993 Fr. David celebrated the first Mass in our new building. Within a year, our community doubled in size to 165 families. In 1994 and 1995 several renovations were made to the building to foster our Catholic identity and facilitate worship.
In the fall of 2001 the care of the Mission was once again transferred to St. Catherine of Siena and their pastor, Fr. James Harrison. In July 2002, a rectory was purchased and Fr. Adrian Pleus was assigned as administrator. By that fall, membership had increased 25% from the previous year to over 500 families.
It was at this point that Fr. Adrian approached the Archbishop of Atlanta, The Most Reverend John Francis Donoghue, with the request of being elevated to parish status and the Archbishop graciously agreed. On January 4, 2003 the Mission officially became a parish and Fr. Adrian was named pastor. Today, we have over 755 registered families worshiping with us and we are looking forward to as much growth and good fortune in the future as God has provided us in the past.