Parish History

The modest origins of St. Michael the Archangel Parish Community took root in the early 1960’s, the beginning of an intense two-decade population surge across Florida’s Gulf Coast Community.

Our Founder, the former Pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in New Port Richey, Father Michael Leap, D.D., O.S.B., had, by the grace of our Lord, the foresight and apostolic awareness to recognize this population increase was fueled specifically by Catholic Christians migrating from the Northern states before settling in the West Pasco area.

Fr. Leap acted quickly to provide for their spiritual needs. Therefore, in October of 1964, he established a mission station in Hudson, wisely entrusting their guidance and Pastoral leadership to Father George A. Malin.

In celebration of the sacred mysteries, the youthful station of St. Michael required the rental of three separate facilities: the Hudson Volunteer Fire Department Hall, the Oakley Building, and the Hudson Community Club. The first Mass, with 81 of the faithful in attendance, was celebrated by Father Richard Kircher, O.S.B., inside the Hudson Volunteer Fire Department Hall.

In 1968, parallel events, seemingly unrelated, took place within the Gulf Coast Community. The first was the canonical establishment of the Diocese of St. Petersburg and, secondly, having outgrown their original facilities, St. Michael the Archangel Parish community moved their mission to the more spacious Country Club Estates Social Club and the Jasmine Lakes Civic Association.

Meanwhile, the first Ordinary of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Bishop Charles Borromeo McLaughlin, D.D., having recognized the need to provide this energetic, fast growing community with a permanent identity, granted independence to St. Michael the Archangel Parish in 1971. The evolution of the Parish advanced rapidly with the acquisition of land off State Road 52 in Hudson. In 1972, a small section of the newly acquired property was cleared to begin construction of a Parish Center.

The faithful knew their new Parish Center would serve to create a holistic sense of community and establish a true awareness of “Gathering in His Name.” Which is exactly what happened on Sunday, February 2, 1975, as the St. Michael Parish community finally gathered together for the first time under one roof to celebrate the sacred mysteries.

Father Malin, early on, recognized the need to educate the parish youth. A Christian Doctrine was established with volunteer teachers and aides from the parish trained and tasked with the parish youth’s religious education.

The first ministries established, the Rosary and Altar Societies, were soon followed by the Ladies’ Guild, the Men’s Club, and the original Choir. As St. Michael the Archangel Parish continued to grow at a rapid pace, many other ministries were added, such as Bible Study classes, Communal Penance Services, Prayer Groups, as well as a chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Also, a dedicated group of volunteers were organized and instructed in their distinguished roles for the proper and respectful functioning of liturgical services as Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors, and Ushers.

Meanwhile, the influx of new residents into West Pasco continued unabated. Within a few short years of 1975, the enormous growth of Florida’s Gulf Coast Community was reflected in a 200% increase in parish registration. The multi-purpose Parish Center was literally “bulging at the seams.” The time and need to build a new church, an edifice worthy of giving glory to God, was now at hand.

In the spring of 1982, Bishop W. Thomas Larkin, D.D., the second Bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, approved the application to build a new church. The arduous task of raising the necessary funds for construction was entrusted largely to the Men’s Club, the Ladies’ Guild, and many volunteers working tirelessly on the Building Fund Campaign. Father Malin and scores of parishioners were kept busy raising money to support current activities.

On Sunday, January 30, 1983, through the generosity, cooperation and boundless enthusiasm of parishioners, the ground-breaking and blessing of the site of the new church finally took place.

In late 1984, at a cost of $2,000,000 St. Michael the Archangel Church became a reality. The final detail was the 3,500 pound cross — donated by a parishioner — which arrived in late November, 1984. The new cross, 33 feet high and 12 feet wide, was covered with 16 ounce-to-the-square-foot of copper plating. The cross weighed almost two tons. A 90 ton crane was necessary to hoist the cross into place against the church crown.

Sunday, December 1, 1985, standing as a beacon and symbol of the Church ever renewing itself, the Christian Community of St. Michael the Archangel dedicated their church. The principle celebrant, the most Reverend W. Thomas Larkin, D.D., then Bishop of St. Petersburg, was joined by co-celebrants Reverend Fidelis J. Dunlop, O.S.B., and Reverend George A. Malin, along with many priests and deacons from the local area.

As parishioners joined together to worship and offer thanks and praise to God for the many blessings He had bestowed on their new church and community, the delighted congregation feasted visually on the meaningful details of the entire structure. All in all, St. Michael the Archangel Church was deemed an artistic and architectural success.

It was over 47 years ago a small nucleus of pioneer members first gathered in three separate, modest accommodations with a fierce, unshakable determination to practice their faith. In 2018, St. Michael the Archangel parish is a vibrant, loving, caring faith community with dozens of ministries and organizations, a spirited music ministry, scores of volunteers, and hundreds of people who devote their time, energy, and love for one another and their community.

As we continue to strive to grow spiritually within our own families and throughout the community, may God bless St. Michael the Archangel Parish in our never-ending search to be a vital and fruitful part of the Body of Christ, that is the Church.


Photography by John Stalter