St Philip the Apostle

Lake City

Founded:  1952

After thirty years of praying and hoping, Marshall Abraham Thomy’s dream to have a Catholic church in Lake City came to fulfillment.  With the assistance of Charles Marella, Thomy raised funds from Catholics, Protestants and Jews to build a church.  On September 28, 1952, Bishop John R. Russell dedicated the church as St. Philomena Roman Catholic Mission.  Father S.F. Dean was the founding pastor.

The next decade was marked by two changes, one a milestone, the other an oddity.  In 1960, due to growth in the Catholic population, the mission church was elevated to a parochial church.  In 1962, due to questions about the historical authenticity of St. Philomena, the church was renamed St. Philip the Apostle.


Nevertheless, the parish continued to grow, and in its second decade added a parish hall to the church and purchased a rectory.  The growth of Catholicism was such that, in its third decade, St. Philip was supporting its own mission, St. Patrick Mission established in Johnsonville in 1979.

On Sunday, December 5, 1982, Bishop Ernest Unterkoefler  offered Mass at St. Philip and presented the Papal Medal and Certificate, bearing the words Pro Ecclesia and Pontifice, to Marshall Abraham Thomy for his exemplary commitment to the Catholic Faith.  Thomy is thought to be the first layman is South Carolina to receive this honor.


The next major demographic change to influence the parish was the influx of Hispanics.  Hispanic ministry began when Nereyda James and Kelly
Gamble went to speak with Hispanics working in the fields.  As the Hispanics settled in the Lake City area, a stable yet growing population of Hispanic families formed and a fulltime Hispanic ministry was established by Las Hermanas de el Corazon de Jesus Sacramentado, directed now by Hermana Angelia Robles.

Jesus gave the apostles the mission to baptize all nations.  From its inception, St. Philip was integrated,  with black and white Americans worshipping together.  Today, St. Philip Church honors the Great Commandment as a multi-cultural, bilingual community that respects the religious values and customs of all its parishioners.

Page # 186 of  Catholic Diocese of Charleston,  A History.