St. Theresa Church in Winnsboro celebrates 40 years of divinity

WINNSBORO — St. Theresa Church will celebrate its 40th anniversary on May 18 with a Mass. Father Bernardino Yebra will be the celebrant.

Fairfield County has had a Catholic presence since 1906. The first Catholic church was a small wooden chapel built for Italian immigrant miners who worked at the Rion Quarry from 1906-1917. One of the workers was the father of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.

The few Catholic families in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s met in each other’s homes with Father Robert Sweeney, a priest from The Oratory in Rock Hill. Later, Mass was held at Pope’s and Glover’s funeral homes, and above the Economy Drug Store.

On Dec. 11, 1963, Bishop Francis F. Reh bought land on the 321 Bypass. In 1967, construction began on the church located at 162 U.S. Highway 321 N.

Through Father Sweeney’s contact with then Msgr. Bernardin of St. Mary in Ohio, he was able to obtain a grant and combined it with donations from parishioners for the completion of the church.

On May 26, 1968, Bishop Ernest L. Unterkoeffler blessed the church and St. Theresa’s officially opened. During the years, it has shared priests with Rock Hill and Columbia as membership continued to grow.

In 1995, with the help of Father Michael McCafferty, the parish was able to win another grant. Parishioners also donated generously to the building fund for the addition of a parish hall. That year, Bishop David B. Thompson officially dedicated St. Theresa as a parish.

For more information about the church or the celebration call (803) 635-2541.