St. Paul’s celebrating 90 years in Riverside

There are only five Roman Catholic parishes in the Jacksonville metropolitan area that are older than the 90-year-old St. Paul’s Catholic Church and School at 2609 Park Street.
Established in 1922 when Bishop Patrick Barry petitioned the Archdiocese for a new parish, the original building (now the school) was the site of the congregation’s first mass on Sept. 23, 1923.

The current sanctuary was built in 1939-40, with its first mass held on Easter Sunday, Mar. 24, 1940. The parish currently serves about 800 families and is commemorating its 90th anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving and re-dedication of the church at 11 a.m. on Sept. 15, followed by a reception. Later that evening, members and friends will attend a Gala Dinner Dance at the Wyndham Riverwalk Hotel.

The festivities also include a $100-a-ticket raffle for prizes totaling $15,000, plus a carnival on Sept. 21, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., which will include a mechanical bull and a 200-foot zipline ride. Funds will support the school through scholarships for economically-challenged families, updated technology, safe, secure environment, according to Principal Kim Repper.
St. Paul’s is one of 21 congregations in the Diocese of Saint Augustine, which was established in 1870. Just two congregations in the Jacksonville Parish survived the 1901 fire. Three, including St. Paul’s, were started shortly after World War I, while 14 were established in the three decades between World War II and the Vietnam War era. Until Bishop Kenny High School was established in the 1950s, St. Paul’s was the only Catholic high school in the
diocese.

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