Gainesville had few Catholics before 1900 when all of North Georgia was a Mission of St. Joseph in Athens, and part of the diocese of Savannah. The first Catholic wedding took place on July 4, 1910 in a private home. Masses were held monthly from traveling priests and most notably were held in the basement of General James Longstreet and his wife Helen Dortch Longstreet in their house on Green Street prior to that in the early 1900’s. The first Catholic Church was constructed in Gainesville on Spring Street in 1933 and still stands today opposite the South entrance of North East Georgia Medical Center and is a private business today. On April 6, 1936, at 8:27 a.m. two tornados moving through Gainesville met in downtown heading towards St. Michael. The edifice was spared when the combined tornados miraculously veered around the church, and then returned to its original path, taking dead aim on the square in downtown Gainesville, destroying the downtown square. 203 were killed that day with 750 homes damaged or destroyed in Hall County.
St. Michael Catholic Church became a parish on December 19th, 1942. Initially St. Michael parish boundaries included seven north Georgia counties. The development of the poultry industry stimulated population growth in the area. The parish outgrew its Spring Street location and built our new church here off of South Enota opening in October 1974. In 1997, the parish began an extensive renovation project expanding the Nave and Sanctuary adding a social hall and offices.
St. Michael flourishes today in the Archdiocese of Atlanta with a diverse Catholic community celebrating Masses in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
In 2020 due to the generosity of the parish family, the Narthex and Social Hall were renovated. Our pastor Father Tim Hepburn shepherds the St. Michael family today and our mission is to “Receive Christ and Live as Disciples”.
May our future history at St. Michael continue to bring the love of Jesus Christ our Savior to our families, friends, and visitors.