History

The first recorded Mass in the Warm Springs and Manchester area was celebrated by Father James Meli in 1911 at the home of George Land in Manchester, Georgia.

In the mid 1930’s, priests from Columbus, Georgia began celebrating Mass at the Warm Springs Foundation (now called the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation). Many of President Franklin Roosevelt’s staff attended Mass at the inter-faith chapel which was built in 1937 on the campus.

Beginning in 1946, the pastor and priests at Saint Peter’s Church in Lagrange, Georgia assumed responsibility for ministering to the Catholics of Meriwether County. For a ten year period, members gathered every night at the homes of parishioners to pray and study the faith so as to expand the Church.

In the late 1960’s and the early 1970’s, Sunday Mass was celebrated both at Warm Springs and in Manchester. Membership grew to about 10 families. In 1969, property was purchased on Nebula Road where the Catholic community gathered for worship and fellowship for twenty-five years

In 1975, Father Joseph Ware was assigned to the Catholic community of Meriwether County. Shortly after Father Ware’s arrival, the name of Saint Elizabeth Seton was selected for the church, which until then had been known as “The Manchester Catholic Mission”. This community is one of the first to adopt the name of Elizabeth Seton, the first American born canonized saint (1975) of the Church.

There is a local connection in that Saint Elizabeth Seton’s maternal grandmother was a member of the Roosevelt family of New York. This gives Meriwether County a special claim to Saint Elizabeth since President Roosevelt, one of the most illustrious members of that family, spent much of his time in Warm Springs and died there in 1945.

In 1994, the mission community applied for the assistance of the Archdiocese to build a new church on property purchased in 1982 on the corner of Judson Bulloch Road between Manchester and Warm Springs, Georgia. Under the able leadership of Father John Kieran, a fund drive was launched with a goal to build a debt-free facility. Several parishes in the diocese assisted and ground preparation was completed in 1995 by Mr. Tony Pierce.

The Ben Gordy Construction Company began construction in May 1996, under the direction of architect Ron Stoser of Columbus, Georgia. The completed church building was dedicated in November 1996.

The 5,000 square foot church has a central worship area with classrooms and an adjoining kitchen. The all steel and brick building was designed for durability and economy. Future expansions can be added to the north and west sides of the building.

The dominant feature of the worship area is the 16 X 14 foot stained glass window. This was executed by Father Donald Keohane of Los Angeles, California. The work shows the Holy Spirit extending His rays of love and truth in brilliant colors on the assembled congregation. This mosaic of light fittingly depicts the joy and happiness of the members of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church.

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