Historian

Coordinator:  

A History of Saint Paul the Apostle Catholic Church

Catholics have deep roots in Georgia. On July 5, 1964, the first Mass was celebrated in Cleveland with about 20 people present, and Father Frank Ruff was the celebrant. He was a member of the Glenmary Home Missioners. The Mass was then celebrated in the chapel of Ward’s Funeral Home for a few years. From Ward’s, the Catholics moved to the house on Highway 115, west of the square (The Tax House today; next to Slack Auto Parts). The building was known as the Catholic Center, and was eventually the home to our resident nun, Sister Joan Meyer. In June 1970, Mass was celebrated in the Methodist Church on a regular basis. In June 1975, the property owned by the Henry McAfee family on the corner of Hulsey and Hwy. 75 was purchased for the new church. In 1977, St. Paul the Apostle was chosen as the name and patron saint of the mission parish by the parishioners.

Mass was celebrated in the converted farm house until March of 1983, when a new multi-purpose building was erected to serve as our church and parish hall. It served us well until April of 2004, when a lightning storm hit and burned it to the ground. In 1992, the parish was released from Glenmary, and became a diocesan parish staffed by the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Father Patrick Donaghey was our first diocesan priest. A building campaign had already begun for a new building, and the current church was dedicated on July 25, 2005.

Priests who have served St. Paul’s are;

  • Fr. Frank Ruff
  • Fr. Lou McNeil
  • Fr. Gerald Peterson
  • Fr. Cal DeLeuil
  • Fr. Bob Cameron
  • Fr. John Zeitler
  • Fr. Don Kunkel
  • Fr. Bob Poandl
  • Fr. Ed Gorny
  • Fr. Patrick Donaghey
  • Fr. Bob Healy
  • Fr. Ron Fuchs
  • Fr. Tim Gadziala
  • Fr. Salvaraj
  • Fr. Thad Rudd
  • Fr. Vincent Sullivan
  • Fr. Fabio Alvarez. (present)

The parish celebrated its 50th Anniversary in July, 2014.