In the spring of 1979, Bishop Ernest Unterkoefler felt a new parish was needed in the rapidly growing city of Spartanburg. Father Christopher Lathem was sent to form a new Catholic community, and on July 15th, the first Mass was celebrated at the Spartanburg Methodist College chapel. By the second Sunday, three Masses were celebrated and attendance grew steadily.
A month after the new parish was formed, Sister Rose Vermette, RCD joined the community to help establish a religious education program including sacramental preparation for children and adults. In September 1979, after prayer, Scripture reading and reflection, each person was asked to submit a name that would best reflect the call of this parish community. Three names were submitted to the bishop for final selection and on November 18, 1979, the new parish was named the Catholic Church of Jesus, Our Risen Savior. By the spring of 1980, Saturday evening Mass was held at Holy Communion Lutheran Church on Reidville Road.
A steering committee was established to identify where Catholic families lived and where potential growth would be in order to determine the best location for the church’s future home. After extensive research and consultation with city and county planners, the committee selected the west side of Spartanburg.
In October 1980, Jesus, Our Risen Savior parish received the Reidville Road property and parish house through the generosity of St. Paul’s Parish in downtown Spartanburg. Within a few months, three of the four Masses were moved to the basement chapel of the parish house. The 10:30 Mass on Sunday remained at Spartanburg Methodist College chapel.
In July 1985, Father Lathem was transferred to Summerville and was replaced by Father Timothy Watters. In early 1986, a capital campaign was started and work began on the construction of a multi-purpose building. Completion of the building in December of 1987 provided a permanent place for Mass, offices, educational and social activities. In mid-1988, Father William Burn served as an intern pastor and in December, Father Eugene Leonard arrived and later became pastor.
At Father Gene’s retirement in December 2001, Father Basil Congro was appointed as pastor. When Father Congro was called away, the parish had no permanent pastor until Father Charles Snopek came out of retirement to serve the parish. He had once served as a Deacon under Father Latham. Upon Father Snopek’s retirement, Father Michael Polewczak was appointed administrator in June of 2006. In May of 2009, Father Mike was diagnosed with cancer and passed away one month later. His one final request to the Most Reverend Robert Guglielmone was that the parish had suffered through the lack of consistency of leadership and that the parish get a pastor.
In October 2009, Fr. Frank Palmieri, CRM of the Adorno Fathers became pastor. In December 2009, Fr. Teodoro Kalaw, CRM joined him as parochial vicar. In August, 2015, Fr. Edgardo Enverga, CRM became pastor with Fr. Giovannie Nunez, CRM and Fr. Binil Attappattu, CRM as parocial vicars. In July 2016 Fr. Binil was transferred and in September 2016, replaced by Father Ryan Dela Pena, CRM.
Timeline of priests and deacons who served JORS from its founding in 1979
A history of the priests and deacons who served Jesus Our Risen Savior Catholic Church from its founding in 1979, with gratitude to founding member Mary Guilfoyle for her research:
1979 – 1985: Father (now Monsignor) E. Christopher Lathem, pastor
1983 – 1989: Deacon Ray George
1985 – 1988: Father Timothy J. Watters, pastor
1986 – 1986: Transitional Deacon Charles J. Snopek
1988 – 1988: Father William Burns, interim pastor.
1988 – 2001: Father Eugene A. Leonard, pastor
1993 – present: Deacon Robert M. Sturm
2000 – present: Deacon Paul F. Shook
2002 – 2002: Father Basil P. Congro, pastor
2003 -2006: retired Father Charles J. Snopek, administrator
2004- 2010: Father Oscar B. Rojas, Hispanic ministry
2006 – 2009: Father Michael J. Polewczak, administrator
2009 – 2015: The Adorno Fathers (Fr. Frank Palmieri, CRM, pastor; Fr. Teodoro Kalaw, CRM, parochial vicar)
2015 – present: The Adorno Fathers ( Fr. Edgardo Enverga, CRM, pastor; Fr. Gio Nunez, CRM, parochial vicar)