Our Mission and History

St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church is a welcoming community centered on the Eucharist. We strive to share the Good News and grow in the discipleship and evangelization of our Lord Jesus Christ.

About Our Parish

The Beginning

St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church was established in Southern Pines in 1885, at a time when fewer than 20 Catholics resided in the Sandhills. The founder of Southern Pines donated land on the corner of East Vermont and North Ashe streets for the purpose of constructing the first church building, a small edifice that cost only $3,000 to build. Upon its completion in 1895, the church was dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua, and from 1895–1906, St. Anthony’s served as a mission church of St. Patrick’s Church in Fayetteville.

Father William Dillon became pastor of St. Anthony’s in May, 1911, and was assigned to undertake the construction of Sacred Heart Church in Pinehurst. Completed in 1915, Sacred Heart was considered a Mission Church of St. Anthony’s until 1935, when Father Dillon was appointed Sacred Heart’s first pastor. In the 1920s, under the guidance of Father Dillon, the sanctuary of St. Anthony’s was extended further back, and two wings were added to provide seating for a total of 175.

Integration

Our Lady of Victory Church opened in west Southern Pines in 1935 to offer black citizens the opportunity to join the Catholic Church in a segregated society. In 1942, Our Lady of Victory grade school opened. Our Lady of Victory parish successfully served the west Southern Pines community until it merged with St. Anthony’s in 1961. That was the year Bishop Vincent Waters mandated integration of all churches and schools in the Diocese of Raleigh, the first in the South to do so. 

The New Church

As the parish grew, it needed a larger church. The original building was razed on April 26, 1973, and the school auditorium served as the place of worship until the new church building was finished.

The new church, seating 450, was dedicated on December 18, 1975. Built at a cost of $380,000, it was paid off in June 1980—three years ahead of schedule—through the concerted effort of parishioners.

The School

In September 1955, St. Anthony’s opened a parochial school to meet the needs of children from both the St. Anthony and Sacred Heart parishes. In 1971, St. Anthony’s school closed. The school re-opened in the fall of 2002 and has continued to expand and flourish. In 2005, the school was re-named Pope John Paul II, to honor our late Holy Father and also reflect the school’s regional nature, as it serves families of Moore County, Hoke County, Ft. Bragg, and surrounding areas. In 2008, the school’s enrollment increased from 78 to 150 students. In 2009, construction began on a new school on 22 acres near Belle Meade, with the interim modular building opening in the fall of 2010. The Tru-Legacy Activity Center—a gymnasium and multi-purpose building for our school and parish—opened in 2016. The school has reached capacity at 207, pre-K through eighth grade.

Our History Continues

From its humble beginnings in 1895, St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church has grown to more than 1,000 registered households. We have a school that provides a competitive academic program enriched with technology and grounded in the spirit and values of the Catholic Church. Our We Care program helps families in need, our food pantry feeds the hungry, and, by our participation in Family Promise, we provide shelter to the homeless. Many of our parishioners volunteer in various ministries throughout the parish. We are a caring congregation committed to our faith and the needs of our community.