St. Michael Catholic Church

Historical timeline for St. Michael's Catholic Church, Fernandina Beach, FL.

1597-08-31 12:54:02

Santa Maria de Sena Mission

Indigenous Timucuans. Mission located near Old Town-north end. During this time, the five Franciscan Missionaries lost their lives in martyrdom for the Faith. They have converted many to the Christian Faith. The Missionaries were clubbed to death for insisting that the converts adhere to the Sacrament of Marriage-one man, one woman. The tradition of the tribe was not this. Most understood and abided by the Christian teachings. Others created the uprising.

1675-08-01 00:00:00

Santa Maria de Yamassee Mission

Yamassee Indians came after the Timucuans to the south end of the island-located on what is now the Amelia Island Plantation.

1686-08-01 00:00:00

Santa Catalina Mission Moves

Santa Catalina Mission moves from st. Catherine's-75 miles north- to Santa Maria (Amelia Island)

1702-08-01 00:00:00

Renaming of Island to Amelia Island

Governor Oglethorpe renames our island Amelia, after the daughter of King George II.

1702-08-01 00:00:00

Burning of Missions

Col. John Moore burns all missions from Carolina to St. Augustine.

1763-08-01 00:00:00

Dr. Rev. Pedro Campo and the Catholics

Dr. Rev. Pedro Campo visited the island for 20 more years to administer to the Catholics living here.

1783-08-01 00:00:00

Census of the Church

Census of the Church shows 103 Roman Catholics on the island. Frs. Hassett and O'Reilly come to the Island to establish a church.

1807-08-01 00:00:00

Yellow Bluff Plantation

Yellow Bluff Plantation is built upon a land grant from the King of Spain by Don Domingo Fernandez (where our church and school sit today).

1811-08-01 00:00:00

Old Town-Designation of Church Lots

Old Town-two lots are designated as church lots, immediately opposite Fort San Carlos-no record of building.

1814-03-01 00:00:00

Request for Church and Priest

Catholics on the island request a church and a resident priest-neither is granted.

1839-03-24 20:54:31

Mission in Fernandina-Attended by Fr. Patrick Hackett

The Mission in Fernandina is attended by Fr. Patrick Hackett. There is no record of a church building.

1844-03-24 00:00:00

Creation of Small Mission Church

A small mission church is believed to have been constructed in Old Town, Fr. Edmund Abril was resident priest.

1845-03-24 00:00:00

Leonilla Villalonga Baptism

Leonilla Villalonga (buried in Villalonga park on the property) baptized by Fr. B. Madeore. "Miss Nilla" later donated the Altars in both the School chapel and the Church. Both are privileged and are said to contain a piece of the cross of Jesus. The marble is cut from the same quarry as the statue of David.

1853-03-24 00:00:00

Yellow Bluff Plantation Sold

Yellow Bluff Plantation (except for the burial plot and the land where the church and school stands) is sold to David Yulee and the railroad company.

1857-03-24 00:00:00

Florida made a Vicariate Apostolic

Florida was made a Vicariate Apostolic, Fernandina was attended once a month by a priest from either Jacksonville or St. Augustine. (An apostolic vicariate is a form of territorial jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church established in missionary regions and countries where a diocese has not yet been established. The hope is that the region will generate sufficient numbers of Catholics for the Church to create a diocese.)

1859-03-24 00:00:00

Wooden Church Erected

A wooden church is erected due to the rapidly growing Catholic population. It is presume that it was on the exact spot where St. Michael's now. Bishop Augustin Verot travelled to France (his home) to teach English to the Sisters of St. Joseph and French priests to encourage them to return with him to Florida. Several served in Fernandina.

1861-03-24 00:00:00

Fr. Henry Clavreul Arrives/Church Goods are Stolen

Fr. Henry Clavreul (one of Bishop Verot's recruits) came to care for the 2000 men at the military camp on Amelia Island. During the war, Union troops had broken into the church of Fernandina and stole the vestments and a sacred vessel. Brigadier-General Alfred H. Terry wrote Colonel R. Rich, Ninth Maine Volunteers, Headquarters, Fort Pulaski, Key West, and St. Augustine Florida, on August 2, 1862: "The Roman Catholic Bishop of Florida has complained to me that some time ago the Catholic Church at Fernandina was broken open and the vestments of teh priest and a valuable chalice were stolen. Such an act of sacrilege must be detected and punished...if necessary, open every knapsack in your command and examine every house in the city."

1866-03-24 00:00:00

African-American Church Built in Old Town

Catholic Church for African-American parishioners is built in Old Town.

1869-03-24 00:00:00

First Permanent Pastor at Catholic Church in Fernandina

First permanent pastor of the Catholic Church in Fernandina, Fr. Carolus Sartorio.

1870-03-24 00:00:00

Florida Vicariate elevated to Diocese of St. Augustine

The Florida Vicariate was elevated to the Diocese of St. Augustine. Thus, Bishop Verot became the first Bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine.

1871-03-24 00:00:00

Sisters of St. Joseph Arrive

The Sisters of St. Joseph arrive from LePuy, France, through St. Augustine. They occupied a rental house on the Wilson Estate, corner of Broome and 8th.

1872-03-24 00:00:00

Fr. Joannes Bertazzi builds the present church.

Fr. Joannes Bertazzi builds the present church. He names it for Fray Miguel de Aunon, Franciscan Missionary martyred September 1597 by the Guale Indians. The church was later dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel on September 29, in honor of the martyr. It was the first brick building in Fernandina.

1877-03-24 00:00:00

Yellow Fever hits Fernandina

The Yellow Fever epidemic hits Fernandina.

1879-03-24 00:00:00

First Parish Rectory Built

First Parish rectory built.

1882-03-24 00:00:00

St. Joseph Academy and Convent Built

St. Joseph Academy and Convent (now St. Michael Academy) is built by the sisters.

1888-03-24 00:00:00

Church Renovation

Church renovated, improved almost completely rebuilt.

1895-03-24 00:00:00

St. Peter Claver Catholic Church built in Old Town

St. Peter Claver Catholic Church is built in Old Town. It accommodates the 30 Black families who are parishioners.

1898-03-24 00:00:00

Services held for Catholic Soldiers

Services were held for the Catholic Soldiers of the 69th New York and 8th Michigan regiments camped at Fernandina as part of the Spanish-American War effort.

1924-01-01 00:00:00

St. Peter Claver Church and School were built off of Calhoun

St. Peter Claver Church built on corner of Calhoun and 3rd Streets. St. Peter Claver School was also built on Calhoun between 5th and 6th streets.

1924-01-01 22:02:20

Remodeling of the Church-Gift of the Bell

The church was remodeled again. A new bell tower was constructed of cast concrete and added to the front of St. Michael's Catholic Church. The bell, blessed on August 15, 1924, replaced an engine bell and was called the Raymond Bell in memory of Mr. W. H. Raymond who made the gift of the bell possible.

1940-01-01 00:00:00

Stained Glass Installed and Church Enlarged

The stained glass memorial windows were installed, and the church was enlarged.

1950-01-01 00:00:00

Grotto in Park Built

The grotto in the park is built by Frank Mayer.

1953-01-01 00:00:00

Construction of chapel in Callahan as Mission Church

The construction of a chapel in Callahan as Mission Church, Our Lady of Consolation.

1960-01-01 00:00:00

Removal of Third Floor of Convent

The third floor of the convent was removed due to deterioration.

1964-01-01 00:00:00

Update on Parish Life

There are 270 families in the parish. The school has 130 pupils, with three sisters, and two lay teachers.

1971-01-01 00:00:00

St. Joseph Academy Closes

St. Joseph Academy closes its doors.

1972-01-01 00:00:00

Centennial Anniversary Church Renovations

Church renovations for the Centennial Anniversary.

1976-01-01 00:00:00

Purchase of Rectory

The house at 505 Broome Street is purchased for the rectory.

1978-03-24 00:00:00

Old Rectory Removed

Old rectory is removed.

1986-03-24 00:00:00

R.C.I.A. program starts in St. Michael's

R.C.I.A. program start in St. Michael's. The bell tower and exterior of the church were restored and the stained glass windows repaired.

1986-03-24 00:00:00

Renovations on Parish Hall

Renovations on parish hall-supports added to stabilize the building.

1990-03-24 00:00:00

Renovation and Restoration of Church

Renovation and restoration of the interior of the church is done.

1997-03-24 00:00:00

Restoration of St. Michael Academy

Restoration of St. Michael Academy begins.

1998-03-24 00:00:00

St. Peter Claver School building becomes pre-school.

St. Peter Claver School building becomes the St. Michael Academy pre-school.

1999-03-24 00:00:00

Arrival of Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters

The Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters arrive to administer and open St. Michael Academy to grades Kindergarten through Four.

2002-03-24 00:00:00

Census Update

Under Pastor, Rev. Mark Waters, the church increased from 320 families in the parish in 1994 to 1200 families registered in 2002.

2012-03-24 00:00:00

Institution of Spanish Mass

The Spanish Mass was instituted by Father Jose Kallukalam to be had on Saturday evenings.

2013-03-24 00:00:00

Design of Coat of Arms

Father Jose Kallukalam accepted a design for the Coat of Arms for St. Michael Catholic Church in 2013.

2015-08-01 00:00:00

Expansion and Dedication of St. Michael Catholic Church

Under the direction of Father Jose Kallukalam, the church was expanded to accommodate the growing parish. As of 2015, there were over 1500 families registered to the parish.

St. Michael Catholic Church

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