A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PARISH
In 1997, with the expansion of western Chesterfield County and with the large number of families attending neighboring parishes, a plan was developed to open a new parish. The late Bishop Walter Sullivan chose Rev. John DeGiorgio; the pastor of Redeemer Catholic Church in Mechanicsville; to start this new parish. He met with a small group of Epiphany and St. Edward families who were eager to build a Catholic Church right in their own backyard.
Masses started at Clover Hill Elementary School on Aug. 2, 1997 with about 400 families. Bishop Sullivan had wanted to honor the three Archangels by naming parishes after them. Our parish selected St. Gabriel and was able to move to its present location in June of 2001.
Rev. Pasquale (Pat) Apuzzo came to the parish as administrator during Advent of 2002. He became the pastor in March of 2003. In June of 2006, the parish dedicated its Prayer Memorial Garden in front of the church. In September of 2006, the offices were moved from their previous location on Route 360 near the Chesterfield Berry Farm, to the present onsite location behind the church.
In 2009, Fr. Pat began celebrating monthly Masses in Spanish for a developing Hispanic community within the Parish of Good Samaritan in nearby Amelia County. As the result of diocesan pastoral planning, St. Gabriel Parish clustered with Good Samaritan Parish. In March of 2010, Bishop DiLorenzo assigned Fr. Pat as pastor of Good Samaritan in addition to Saint Gabriel. In 2012, the late Bishop Walter Sullivan generously gifted the parish with new seating within the worship space. Fr. Pat Apuzzo retired from active priestly ministry on July 1, 2013.
The parish welcomed Rev. Eric Ayers as pastor of St. Gabriel and Good Samaritan Parishes on July 1, 2013. He formerly served as Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph’s, Hampton; St. Mary Star of the Sea, Ft. Monroe; and St. Vincent de Paul, Newport News. Under his direction the parish continues to not only provide for the many sacramental needs of the parish, but supports a growing and dynamic Children, Youth, and Adult Faith Formation program; outreach to the surrounding community through 10 different ministries that range from feeding the homeless to visiting the imprisoned to helping the elderly. St. Gabriel’s also support fellow parishioners in need through ministries to the sick and bereaved.
Staying true to the mission on which St. Gabriel was founded, parishioners announce the Good News alive today through the commitment to be a parish of welcome and hospitality through the stewardship of their gifts. Through worship, outreach, formation, compassion and forgiveness, the community is called to pause and reflect on their relationship with God and one another as they live the Gospel each day of their lives. The call to full and active participation in the life of the parish is at the foundation of our life as a community of faith.
St. Gabriel’s has since grown to a parish of nearly 1100 families in a rapidly developing section of the county and will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the parish in 2017.