One of the earliest records of the faith in Greenville, North Carolina is found in the U.S. Catholic Miscellany. It notes that in March of 1828 some Catholics were living in Greenville and the surrounding vicinity. The old Baptismal records in Washington, NC records that Fr. Patrick Coffey visited Greenville in January of 1845. Mission priests served Greenville until Fr. Price began his regular visitations in the 1880′s.
In 1884, the parish of St. Peter was established in Greenville. Fr. Price purchased a frame building for $50 that the Episcopalians had used. This little church was moved two blocks to 2nd St. and was placed on a small lot given by Colonel Harry Skinner. This building served as the church until 1926 when Fr. Charles Gable, the first resident Pastor, built a combined rectory and church with the help of the Church Extension Society.
During Fr. Gable’s 36 years as Pastor, a school named in honor of St. Raphael (later renamed St. Peter’s) was opened in 1946. The Sisters of the Most Precious Blood from Columbia, PA administered the school. There were 54 students at its opening with six grades. In 1953, a new school and auditorium were built. In 1985, Fr. Michael Clay obtained the services of the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, NY who administered the school until this past year. Today, it is considered one of the finest elementary schools in the state with classes K through eight. There are 540 students enrolled with a waiting list of well over 100.
In 1987, through an agreement with the Passionist Community and Bishop Joseph Gossman, five Passionist priests came to Greenville to serve the Catholic Community. Two were assigned to cover St. Peter’s. Till the present five Passionists continue to serve St. Peter’s, St. Gabriel’s and the Newman Center in Greenville.
The 1990′s saw tremendous growth in the parish. A multimillion dollar building program was begun by Fr. Joseph Jones, C.P. It resulted in a new church, parish hall, parking facilities, new gymnasium and two extensions on the school. Currently, plans are underway for expanded office facilities and a new rectory. Numerically, the parish numbered 36 parishioners in 1922. In 1981, there were 450. In 1987, there were 1,160. Today, there are 4,156 registered parishioners.
Fr. Justin Kerber, C.P.