Parish - Parish History

Catholicism was introduced into Cabarrus County by Joseph Barnhardt, a Lutheran known for his many questions on religious theology and his deep belief in God. Through his reading and the grace of God, Joseph embraced the Catholic faith. In 1842, Father Gifford received him and his family into the Catholic Church. They were visited by priests, who prepared the children for the reception of the sacraments and became acquainted with others who concluded that Catholicism was their way to God. Once they embraced the Catholic faith, they were fervent believers. Others joined the church; and within 25 years, nearly all of the settlement embraced the Catholic faith.
Joseph Barnhardt always dreamed of having a church in the community instead of holding services in homes. He often talked of donating land; however, he died in 1858 before making any practical plan for having a church built. On June 1, 1869, according to the wishes of his father-in-law, George C. Goodman deeded a picturesque plot of land, on Gold Hill Road, a top a hill surrounded by pines, where the first St. James Catholic Church was built.
On August 1, 1869, the Rt. Rev. James Gibbons, Vicar Apostolate of North Carolina, dedicated St. James Catholic Church. During these years, Mass was celebrated once a month with priests coming from Belmont, Greensboro or Salisbury.
The Rev. Herman Wolfe of St. Mary Help Abbey, Belmont, NC, became the pastor of the Concord Mission in 1876. St. James was the first mission the Benedictines accepted outside of Gaston County. In the fall of 1880, the Rt. Rev. Bishop John J. Keene, newly-consecrated for the Richmond Diocese, acting as administrator of the North Carolina Diocese, administered Confirmation and appointed the Rev. Stephen Lyons to take charge of the mission.

In 1945, Thomas Curran became the first resident pastor.  In 1947 St. James was designated a parish. When fire destroyed the church on Gold Hill Road in 1954, Bishop Vincent Waters of Raleigh then requested a church be built in the city of Concord.    Bishop Waters later dedicated the new church on Union St.

St. James Catholic Church adopts St. Joseph Catholic Church in Kannapolis as a mission in 1967.  Rev. George Kelly, C.Ss.R. became the first Redemptorist pastor at St. James in 1974.  In 1978 Bishop Begley dedicated the Religious Education Center at the Union St. site.  On January 13, 1980, Knights of Columbus Council 7450 received their charter.  The rectory was built in 1986 and Bishop William C. Curlin dedicated the new Parish Center in 1994.

Later, as the parish grew and moved to a new location, Bishop Peter Jugis dedicated the new church on Manor Avenue in December of 2004.  Two years later, the St. James parish welcomed our Hispanic members under the guidance of Rev. Oscar Rojas and Rev. Dimas Arce, C.Ss.R.  Most recently, in the spring of 2007, our Pastor Father James Geiger dedicated our new youth center in honor of St. James parishioners Stephen and Naomi Gill for there generous support toward the project.

 In August of 2008, we welcomed Fr. Joseph Dionne as the new pastor of St. James and a year later (October 2009) we dedicated the new rectory as our latest addition to our parish campus.

Bishops and Pastors ministering to St. James:
1842 Fr. Gifford
1848 Fr. J.J. O'Connell & Fr. L. P. O'Connell
1854 Fr. A.J. McNeal
1855 Fr.Joseph P. O'Connell
1865 Fr. L.P. O'Connell (Vicar General)
1876 Fr. Herman Wolfe & Fr. Joseph Keller, OSB
1879 Fr. Stephan Lyons
1882 Bishop H.P northrop of Charleston, SC administered Confirmation
1884 Fr. Rudesind Schrembs, OSB
1885 Fr. Julius Pohl and Fr. Patrick Doulon, OSB
1886 Fr. Walter Leahy, OSB
1887 Fr. John Hill of Charleston Diocese and Fr. Julius Pohl
1888 Fr. Julius Pohl
1891-1934 Benedictines of Belmont Abbey given pastoral care of nine counties including Cabarrus.
1891 Fr. Bernard
1892 Fr. Joseph Mueller
1901 Fr. Albert
1903 Fr. Peter
1904 Fr. Matthew
1904 Bishop Haid confirmed twenty-two
1906 Fr. William
1908 Fr. Gregory Windschegl
1911 Fr. Leo Kuny
1913 Fr. Celestine Bache
1914 Fr. Mark Cassidy
1915 Fr. Maurus Buckert
1920 Fr. Gerard Rettys
1925 Fr. Herman J. Goines
1934 James Cowan first Diocesan Pastor
1946 Thomas Curran first resident pastor. St. Thomas Hall named for him
1947 St. James designated a parish. Bishop Waters of Raleigh requests a church be built in the city of Concord.
1954 Fire destroys church on Gold Hill Rd.
Bishop Vincent Waters of Raleigh dedicated the new church on Union St. N.
1960 Edward L. Gross
1962 James C O’Brien
1963 Richard Allen
1967 St. Joseph, Kannapolis, became a mission of St. James Catholic Church
1968 Fr. Edward Beatty
1969 Fr. William Pharr
Fr.Joseph Showfety
Fr. Michael J. Begley became the new Bishop of Charlotte
1971 Fr. Francis Connolly
1974 Redemptorists come to St. James and St. Joseph
1974 Fr. George Kelly, C.Ss.R. , Pastor
1978 Bishop Begley dedicated Religious Education Center
1980 Knights of Columbus Council 7450 receives Charter, 01/13/80
1981 Fr. Michael Hopkins, C.Ss.R.
1986 Rectory built
1987 Fr. Eugene Daigle, C.Ss.R.
1987 Daniel Carl, First Deacon
1993 Fr. Daniel Carboy, C.Ss.R., Pastor
1994 Parish Center dedicated by Bishop William C. Curlin
1998 Brother Darrell Cevasco, C.Ss.R., Parish Administrator
1999 Fr. John L. Smyth, C.Ss.R., Pastor
2002 Fr. James Geiger, C.Ss.R., Pastor
2002 Parochial Vicars: Fr. Edward Gray, C.Ss.R. and Fr. Alvaro Riquelme, C.Ss.R. at St. Joseph , Kannapolis, NC
2004 St. James Dedicated 12/04/04 by Bishop Peter Jugis
2005 Brother Christopher Walsh, C.Ss.R., Parish Administrator
2006 Rev. Oscar Rojas, C.Ss.R. and Rev. Dimas Arce, C.Ss.R.
2007 Gill Hall dedicated by Fr. James Geiger, C.Ss.R.
2008 Fr. Joseph Dionne, C.Ss.R., Pastor
2015 Fr. Jerome Chavarria, C.Ss.R., Pastor, 08/2015
updated 05/17/2017