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Roots: 1828-1899

In November 1828, Bishop John England purchased a track of land on the corner of St. Philip and Radcliff Streets for a cemetery. He had hoped that eventually a church would be erected.

A meeting was called September 1, 1835 asking all Catholics living north of Calhoun Street to meet with him to consider a new parish in Charleston’s Neck Area. The Committee of seven people reported on September 15 that there were nearly 50 families, a number of individual and a considerable number of Colored people living in the area. Some with transportation felt that St. Mary’s and the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist were sufficient. After much discussion, the meeting approved the views of the Bishop and plans for a new church got underway. Reverend John Fielding was appointed and on Sunday, January 29, 1837, he celebrated Mass for the first time at the King Street residence of Mr. P.B. Bouton.

Funds were raised. On St. Patrick’s Day 1838, the cornerstone was laid and work began. By the end of December, the humble edifice, though not completely finished, was ready for divine service. It was a framed building 50 feet in length, 36 feet wide and 24 feet high. There were neat galleries on each side. The one on the north was for Colored parishioners and on the south for Whites. Space on the west was for the organ. There were 36 pews which were rented.

Money were collected and invested to replace the small church. However, during the Civil war the funds depreciated in value and investments failed. The parish was bankrupted.

Father Daniel Quigley, appointed in 1884, saw the need for a larger church. His first move was to purchase the ground on the northwest corner of St. Philip and Radcliff Street in December. The framed church was moved across the street and plans were drawn for the new church.

Work progressed rapidly. Then came the earthquake of August 31, 1886. Fortunately, Father Quigley was in charge of funds raised throughout the country. He pushed for St. Patrick and on December 12, 1886, Mass was held in the basement of the new church. On May 15, 1887, St. Patrick was solemnly consecrated. In December 1891, the organ was installed and used at the 5 a.m. Mass on Christmas morning.

Early Photographs of Buildings


St. Peters Church, 1936


St. Catherine's Convent, 1936


RectorySt Peters Rectory, 1936




SchoolSt. Peters School, 1936


Church, 1940 St. Peters Church,


St. Peters Rectory,


RectorySt. Patrick Rectory, 1937
St. Philip Street


  Plat, 1957



Growth: 1900-1999

Father Joseph Moroney assumed his duties in 1970. A smaller rectory was built across the street across from the church after the original facility collapsed. During the administration of the Reverend Leonard Tuozzolo, 1975-1978, the first Parish Council was organized. With the help of the Diocesan Development Fund, a survey was made of the structural needs of the Church and changes were made in the Lower Church to accommodate the new penitential rites.

In 1978, the Reverend Egbert Figaro became the first black priest to serve in the Charleston area. He was assigned to St. Patrick and had the skills to carry out the findings in the survey. Much of the work was done by parishioners.

A year of Jubilee was celebrated to observe the 150th Anniversary of the Church. In March of 1986, a re-enactment of the laying of the cornerstone was held. A time capsule was buried with a monumental stone to mark the burial site. The Jubilee Celebration ended with the dedication of a new organ on April 10, 1988.

Present: Millennium and Beyond

Present St. Patrick Church

Constant changes have taken place in the years since 1837. But one thing is constant: Jesus Christ is the same, Yesterday, Today, and Forever.

Brief History of St. Patrick Catholic Church: 1837-1988
(Resources: Diocesan Archives; Church Historian, Anna Kelly; compiled 1997)


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St. Patrick
Saint Patrick
Our Patron Saint


Our Lady of Mercy
Sister Parish:
Our Lady of Mercy Church
77 America Street
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 723-7784)


The Vatican Diocese of Charleston Conference of Catholic BishopsNational Council of Catholic WomenKnights of Peter ClaverKnights of Columbus
134 St. Philip Street, Charleston, SC 29403 Phone: 843. 723.6066 Email: stpat@bellsouth.net