A Brief History of Our Parish

St. Paul Catholic Church’s humble beginning was in 1963 with 12 families gathering at a Carrollwood School for their first Mass. Below are some highlights of the incredible endeavors that have occurred in our 55 years as a spiritual home to a growing parish family:

  • We started as a mission of St. Lawrence Church in 1963. The Ladies Guild, which evolved into our current Council of Catholic Women (CCW), was also established in 1963.
  • The parish was officially erected on April 12, 1966.  Father John F. Lima, M.M., became our first Pastor.  He celebrated the groundbreaking for our church at Dale Mabry and Stall Road in 1969 and the dedication as St. Paul Catholic Church in 1970. 
  • Father Austin Mullen was welcomed as our second Pastor in 1973; and through his efforts, our Parish Center was completed and dedicated in 1979. 
  • The St. Paul Catholic Preschool (aka. St. Paul Child Enrichment Center) was founded in 1980.  “To become a Christ-Centered Family” was established as our goal and mission statement in 1982.  In September of 1986, the St. Paul Chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society was founded.
  • A major milestone was reached in 1990 when the first Mass was held in the new church with seating for over 880 parishioners. 
  • The Amor de Jesus Prayer Group was established in April 1990.  The St. Paul Knights of Columbus Council 11211 was established in November of 1993. In March 1995, we dedicated our new Family Center (our previous church).
  • In 1996, we said goodbye to Father Austin, our pastor of 23 years, and welcomed Monsignor John F. Neff as our new pastor.  During his time, construction and renovation of the Parish Center was completed; several parishioners were ordained as Permanent Deacons; and a new computer network was installed and the St.PaulChurch.com domain and website were created.  Monsignor Neff retired as Pastor of St. Paul in 2002. 
  • Father Len Piotrowski became our fourth pastor in 2002.  The first Mass in the Portuguese language, for our Brazilian community, was celebrated in 2003.
  • We grew from the original 12 families to over 5,200 in 2012.  Our church grounds provide a place of solitude and beauty as you stroll through the “Peace Path” that starts by the Statue of St. Francis, the rosary and butterfly gardens as well as a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the outdoor Stations of the Cross, thanks to an Eagle Scout project. 
  • In 2010, St. Paul’s became the home to the Santo Niño Shrine located beside the Church, constructed and maintained by our Filipino community. In 2011-2012, our sanctuary went through a makeover creating a tranquil and symbolic worship space. 
  • Father Bill Swengros returned to St. Paul’s, this time as our Pastor, in 2014.  
  • The SOS (Human Trafficking Ministry) and the Respect Life Ministry were established in 2014.
  • In 2015, many capital projects began to renovate and update our existing buildings and grounds including the construction of a new nursery, Family Room, Choir room, and major acoustical improvements in the main church to enhance our beautiful liturgies and music. 
  • In the spring of 2017, we erected a 15’ high crucifix in the shrine area.  
  • In the fall of 2017, we also dedicated the first of four shrines, Our Lady of Good Health.  The Padre Pio Shrine was also erected on the Peace Path in that same year.
  • In 2018, our grounds were enhanced with two more shrines, Our Lady of Aparecida and Our Lady of La Leche.  The Our Lady of Grace shrine was erected along the Peace Path. Also in 2018, the Jamaican Mission Ministry was established.
  • In 2018, a courtyard that connects the three buildings was  redesigned to create an outdoor living space where people could socialize, meetings could be held, and social events celebrated.  Furthermore, the Our Lady Queen of the Apostles statue was installed on our campus.
  • On March 22, 2020, our parish broadcasted the first “LIVE” Sunday Mass from the church via Facebook.
  • On July 1, 2022, Fr. Craig Morley was appointed as the sixth pastor of St. Paul Catholic Church.
  • In 2023, we reached over 7,000 registered families in our parish.