St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church
|Saint Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church|
|Location||Raleigh, North Carolina, United States|
|Affiliation||Roman Catholic Church|
|District||Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh|
|Leadership||Bishop Michael Francis Burbidge|
Saint Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church is a Roman Catholic Jesuit church located in Raleigh, North Carolina, United States. Out of the Roman Catholic parishes in Raleigh, Saint Raphael's has the largest Hispanic population within its congregation. St. Raphael's is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, whose bishop is seated at Sacred Heart Cathedral. The church is also the host of Saint Raphael the Archangel Catholic School. and pre-school Saint Raphael Early Childhood Center. The priests are members of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, the US Jesuit Portal, and Jesuits Worldwide.
The parish is located at 5801 Falls of Neuse Road in Raleigh North Carolina. The office staff (919-865-5700)can be contacted weekdays from 9am-4:30pm. The current priests at Saint Raphael's Catholic Church are Reverend Bob Hussey SJ (Pastor), Reverend Michael Proterra SJ, and Reverend Bruce Bavinger SJ. The main altar of St. Raphael's contains a relic of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. The altar in the church's Chapel of Our Lady Queen of the Americas contains relics of Blessed Miguel Pro and of St. Katherine Drexel.
In 1964 Monsignor Michael A. Carey, the pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, purchased thirty-five acres of land for the future St. Raphael Church. The original plan was for a Saint Joseph Chapel to be built and the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes would send over a priest every Sunday for a Mass. In the spring of 1965 International Business Machines built a development and manufacturing site in the Research Triangle, bringing enough Roman Catholics to require a church instead of the small chapel. The Catholic Church Extension Society awarded a $20,000 (US) grant to the mission endeavor and asked that the parish be named in honor of Saint Raphael the Archangel, the patron saint of healing and happy meetings. Our Lady of Lourdes parish paid for the purchase of the property and for renovation of the 1810 Beddingfield farmhouse for use as the priest’s home and parish office.
In 1966 Most Reverend Vincent S. Waters, 3rd Bishop of Raleigh, formally dedicated St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church, located on a two lane road then dotted with farms. It was to serve the rapidly expanding Roman Catholic population in Wake County.
The Masini family, parish members of St. Raphael's, dedicated a stone statue and fountain of an angel playing a flute in 1996 in honor of their daughter, Toni Christine Masini, who died in 1992. The fountain was designed by two graduate students from North Carolina State University.
Saint Raphael the Archangel Catholic School and Saint Raphael Early Childhood Center, hosted on the grounds of the church, offer pre-school as well as grades kindergarten through eight. The school feeds into Cardinal Gibbons Catholic High School. It is one of the only Jesuit-run schools in North Carolina.
In 1979 the Early Childhood Center opened its doors under the direction of Sister Francis Clare Ugast, for Catholic families wanting a Catholic education provided for their children. Classes were held in trailers. During the priesthood of Father Gerald L. Lewis, the third pastor of Saint Raphael, construction of the Parish Center was initiated and, in 1980, the new building was dedicated by Most Reverend F. Joseph Gossman, then Bishop of Raleigh. Space for the Early Childhood Center, as well as religious education and parish organizations was now available. The ECC (Early Childhood Center) moved into the new Parish Center and a half day kindergarten class was added.
In 1989, Reverend J. Paul Byron was named the fourth pastor of the parish. The parish continued to grow rapidly, and by 1992 plans were made and finalized for the establishment of an elementary school to serve children in kindergarten through third grade. In 1994, St. Raphael Catholic School opened its doors to the first Kindergarten class, serving 26 children of the parish and neighboring community. Each year thereafter, another grade was added to the school, and by 1998, the school expanded to include a second kindergarten and first grade, and the vision of eventually growing into a full kindergarten through eighth grade school was embraced.
Reverend Robert Curry SJ assumed the position of fifth pastor when the Maryland Jesuit Province agreed to staff the parish. In 2001, during his tenure, construction on a new school building was begun, and the new SRCS (Saint Raphael Catholic School) building opened in 2002 as Reverend Francis Gillespie SJ became the sixth pastor of the parish. SRCS graduated its first eighth grade class in 2003. In 2005, SRCS opened with two of every grade from kindergarten through eight for the first time.
The year 2008 saw a change in pastoral leadership as Reverend Robert Hussey SJ became the seventh pastor of the parish. Today SRCS serves over 400 students in grades kindergarten through eighth.
Saint Raphael Catholic School offers the Ryan O’Connell Memorial Scholarship to assist families who come under unexpected distress or have financial issues. The scholarship was named in honor of Ryan O'Connell, a third grader at the school who died in the year 2000.
Saint Raphael Catholic School has the following sports teams:
- Boys Soccer
- Girls Volleyball
- Boys Varsity and JV Basketball
- Girls Varsity and JV Basketball
- Boys Lacrosse
- Girls Soccer
- Boys Varsity Baseball
St. Raphael Fair
Every September (second weekend), St. Raphael Parish hosts the The Fair at St. Raphael Catholic Church. The fair includes rides, music, food, games, and other events. The proceeds go towards the school and the church.