Our History

 

On August 9, 1985, Archbishop Thomas Donnellan established a new parish for western Douglas County. St. Theresa’s parish was comprised of the Catholic community of all of Douglas County west of Burnt Hickory Road and Fairburn Road. The Reverend Edward O’Connor was the first Pastor of this new parish of approximately 250 registered families.

The first Sunday Mass of the new parish was celebrated on November 30, 1985, at the old Whitley-Garner Funeral Home chapel on Broad Street in historic downtown Douglasville. In February of 1986, a building on Spring Street was rented in which to celebrate Holy Mass, and the people of the parish chose St. Theresa of the Child Jesus as its patron saint.

Construction work for the new church site on Prestley Mill Road began in February of 1988. The official groundbreaking on the ten-acre site took place on Sunday, April 10, 1988.

The first Mass, wherein the new but still unfinished church building was dedicated, was celebrated on February 27, 1989 by Archbishop Eugene Marino. The main stained glass window, designed by Trappist Monk, Rev. Fr. Methodius Telnack of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, was installed in April of 1989. This window’s theme is “Jesus and the children” which reflects our patroness, St. Theresa’s spirituality which was based on Jesus’ command to “become like little children” (cf Matt. 18:3).  The rose seen in the upper right section is the flower most associated with St. Theresa.

During the term of the second pastor (1991 to 1994), Rev. Msgr. Hugh Marren, four classrooms and a nursery were built in the basement of the new church. The St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Knights of Columbus council were established in the parish.

During the term of the third pastor (1994 to 1996), Rev. Fr. William M. Hickey, the rectory, which at that time was located on a separate property on Elizabeth Street in Douglasville, was renovated. Social and wedding committees were established.

Inside Our Church Stained Glass Window the Four EvangelistsDuring the term of the fourth pastor (1996 to 2001), Rev. Fr. Stewart Wilber, the RCIA Ministry was established in the parish. Additional stained glass windows were added on the sides of the church.  The window on the right side of the sanctuary is a depictInside Our Church Stained Glass Window Presence of Christ at Massion of the Mass with the Priest, the Word, the Holy Eucharist and the People.  The window on the left side of the sanctuary depicts the four authors of the Gospels – St. Matthew the Man; St. Mark the Lion; St. Luke the Ox and St. John the Eagle. Rev. Fr. Augustine Tran became the parish’s first parochial vicar in December of 1998. The Parish Life Center was dedicated in the summer of 1999.

During the term of the fifth pastor (2001 to 2009), Rev. Fr. Richard Tibbetts, the Liturgy Committee was established and a new rectory was built on the property situated behind the church in 2003. There were five Parochial Vicars during the term of Fr. Tibbetts: Rev. Fr. Sam Porres (2002-2003), Rev. Fr. Dennis Juan (2003-2004), Rev. Fr. Joseph Shaute (2004-2007), Rev. Fr. Jaime Rivera (2007-2008) and Rev. Fr. Dairo Rico (2008-2009).

During the term of our sixth pastor (July 2009 – June 2014), Rev. Fr. Fernando Molina-Restrepo, the 10:00 AM Children’s Mass was instituted; we celebrated our 25th Anniversary; we acquired new property across the street to build a future church and school; the Pastoral Council was retired and The Discipleship Council replaced the Pastoral and Stewardship Councils.  There were five Parochial Vicars during the term of Fr. Molina-Restrepo:  Rev. Fr. Bill Hao (2009-2010), Rev. Fr. Kizito Nkemjika Okeke (2010 – 2013 on loan to the Archdiocese of Atlanta from the Archdiocese of Nigeria while studying for his PhD. in Psychology), Rev.  Fr. Michael Silloway (summer of 2010), Rev. Fr. Joshua Allen (a parishioner of St. Theresa’s –  summer of 2011), and Rev. Fr. Cong Nguyen (July 2013 – July 2016).  Another St. Theresa’s parishioner, Rev. Fr. Mark Starr, was ordained to the priesthood in May 2012.

During the term of our sevSTenth pastor, Rev. Fr. Jesús David “JD” Trujillo-Luna (July 2014 – September 2016) we renovated our Church Sanctuary and celebrated our 30th Anniversary as a parish. During Fr. J.D.’s term we had two parochial vicars – Rev. Fr. Cong Nguyen (July 2013 – July 2016) and Rev. Luis E. Alvarez (July 2016 – present). Rev. Fr. Lane Briese was appointed as Interim Administrator to our parish in November 2016 to serve until a new pastor is appointed.

We are currently blessed to have two permanent Deacons serving St. Theresa’s: Rev. Mr. Ron St. Michel (2/8/2003) and Rev. Mr. Israel Melara (2/7/2009). Rev. Mr. Terry M. Holmer served from February 2, 2002 until his death on February 2, 2016 (2/2/2002-2/2/2016). Rev. Mr. Chrys Harkins served as Deacon from February 2, 2013 to June 2015 when he was reassigned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Carrollton.  Rev. Mr. Charles Patrick served as Deacon from June 2006 until his death on December 28, 2012 (6/10/2000-12/28/2012) and Rev. Mr. Paul Dietz served as Deacon from 2000 to 2006 where upon he was reassigned to Blairsville.

St. Theresa Parish has grown from its original 250 families to over 1,350 registered families representing all ethnicities and backgrounds encompassing many cultures from around the world.  We began celebrating two (2) Masses per weekend and now celebrate six (6) Masses every weekend (4 in English and 2 in Spanish) in addition to daily Mass (in English) celebrated throughout the year.

At midnight on December 31, 2012, we obtained possession of the 27 acre horse farm located directly across the street from our present location which we purchased in July 2012 through the generous donation of an anonymous donor.

We held our very first prayer service on this property at 11:00 am on January 1, 2013. Plans are in the making for building a new Church on this site in the future with the potential for adding an elementary school complete with playing fields and other amenities.

A statue of Jesus was placed in a prominent position on the property in the winter of 2014.

Statue on New Church Site